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Theodore Calvin Pease 

SO 2. 


iu. hist, sufivey 


Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 







sometime Scholar of Pembroke College and 

F. W. Maitland Lecturer in the University of Cambridge: 

Reader in Diplomatic and English Archives 

in the University of London 





1 937 

First Edition published 1922 
New and Revised Edition published 1937 






When I first decided to put in hand a new edition of this 
Manual I was under the impression that the task would be a 
very light one. I did not intend (as indeed I have not attempted) 
to do more than I did in 1922 ; that is, to illustrate the theory 
and practice of Archive Work from English Archives : I had 
not changed, so far as I knew, my views upon matters of 
principle : and for the rest it did not occur to me that after 
the lapse of a comparatively small amount of time I should 
need to do more than revise a few references and re-write a few 
paragraphs. Actually, though the first part of my assumption 
has proved correct — I do not find myself in disagreement with 
my former exposition of Archive Theory — I now know that I 
much under-estimated the number of small practical matters 
upon which I should wish to give the result of greater know- 
ledge : I had had what is, I suppose, the common experience 
of a man engaged in work which progresses only by slow 
stages — that of not realizing, till circumstances compel him to 
take stock, how much progress has been made. 1 

I should not have thought it worth while to mention this 
if my personal experience had not chanced to coincide with a 
period — roughly the period since the Great War — during 
which appreciation of the value of Archives, and organized 
effort for their better control and maintenance, have increased 
to an unparalleled extent both in Europe and America generally 
and in England in particular. I can make no pretence to deal 
thoroughly here with these developments (it would need a 
small treatise) but it may be worth while to glance at a few 
outstanding matters. 

1 I find that since 1922, when I was first charged with the superintendence of a 
Repair Department, something like 50,000 Archive pieces, many of them containing 
large numbers of individual documents, have passed through it. I might have known 
that this could hardly happen without a considerable enlargement of view. Actually 
we have in that time evolved what amounts to a new technique in more than one 
department of the work. A similar remark might be made in regard to other divisions 
of Archive work with which I have been personally in touch : and I have, of course, 
profited largely by the accumulated experience of many colleagues at the Public Record 
Office and friends in this and other Countries. 



One has, in fact, only to look at any periodical summary 
of Archive progress, such as the Year's Work in Archives which 
is now compiled by the British Records Association, 1 to see 
that progress on an important scale is continuous everywhere 
and in relation to every department of Archive work : each 
year we hear of new Archive Laws or the re-organization of 
existing establishments ; 2 of new Buildings or the adaptation 
of old ones to new usefulness as Repositories ; 3 of the working 
of international agreements 4 touching Archives affected by 
political changes and the re-integration of ancient fonds long 
dismembered ; 5 of the enlargement of the scope of the 
Archivist's work to cover new fields ; 6 of fresh progress in the 
production of volumes in existing series of Archive publications 
and the initiation of new ones ; 7 of technical research in 

1 Published by the Library Association in its Year's Work volume and separately 
by the Records Association in its Reprints series. I have taken most of the illustrations 
which follow from the issues of 1935 and 1936. 

In this connexion I should not omit mention of at least two Continental Publications 
— the German Archivalische Zeitschrift and the Italian Archivi d' Italia: Rassegna 
Internazionale degli Archivi. In many other countries there are now specialist 
publications devoted to Archive work, though generally their interests are mainly 

2 For example very important new Laws, increasing the powers both of Provincial 
and State Archivists in relation to Public Departments, came into force in France in 
1936 : a new Decree of 1935 has superseded in Italy the old regolamento of 191 1 : in 
Germany the re-organization of the Reichsarchiv in 1934 has been, or is being, followed 
by other important legislation : and many other examples could be cited. Little is 
known at present, outside Russia, of the results of Archive organization, or re-organization » 
in that country : but they should be full of interest. 

3 The number which might be cited is embarrassingly large but perhaps the most 
important is the rehabilitation of the Hotel de Rohan at Paris as a Repository, and the 
connexion established between this and the Hotel Soubise. In 1936 occupation of new 
premises was reported from Rome and from ten other Italian Archive Centres. 

4 Notably that between Germany and Denmark concerning the Schleswig-Holstein 
Archives ; dealing with a situation which dates back to the Treaty of Vienna, in 1878. 

5 The outstanding example comes, of course, from Poland. 

6 The incorporation of Notarial Minutiers in the Archives Nationales at Paris is 
particularly important : similar work has been going on in Italy for some years ; and 
was in progress (until recent lamentable events) in Spain, as the result of a decree of 1931. 

7 This is much too large a subject for the citation of representative examples : 
but anything in the nature of a new general Guide is important, and in this connexion 
the new French Etat General des Inventaires des Archives . . . may be cited. 


regard to the materials and conservation of documents ; * of 
experiments in Archive Education — education of the Archivist 
himself by means of special schools 2 and of the Public by 
Exhibitions and by increased facilities for research. 3 Perhaps 
the most striking milestone in the progress of Archive work in 
recent years, from a national point of view, is the triumphant 
institution, after more than fifty years of struggle, of a National 
Archives of the United States Government, 4 its organization 
upon lines which profit by the trial and error of a century in 
Europe, and its establishment in a building which must be the 
object of envy to every Archivist under older dispensations. 
While as an evidence of the international importance to which 
our subject has now attained it is only necessary to record that 
in recent years a Committee of the League of Nations has 
found it both desirable and possible to compile and issue a 
Guide International des Archives ; 6 drawing for the purpose 
information from the Archive Establishments of thirty-six 
European Countries. 

A growth which is no less remarkable, though of course on 
a smaller scale, has been witnessed in England during the same 
period. It is no exaggeration to say that, at the time this book 
appeared, there were still many persons concerned with 
Record work for whom their subject began and ended with the 
Public Records ; who would not allow much importance to 
any classes even of those, apart from the Chancery Enrolments, 

1 See the replies of several Countries {e.g. Holland, Italy, Norway, Sweden and 
Russia) to the last part of the questionnaire issued for the Guide International mentioned 

2 As an interesting local manifestation may be mentioned the Instructional Courses 
for 62 ' District Wardens ' of Archives in Wiirtemberg. Larger and more national 
(or international) in scope is the Inter- Scandinavian Archive Day, in which Denmark, 
Esthonia, Finland, Norway and Sweden participate. 

3 What is, perhaps, a curious comment on recent political happenings is the official 
assistance now given in many German Repositories to genealogical researches. In 
general, increased facilities for students and an opening up of Archives have been a 
post- War feature in most Countries. 

A See some description of this in B.R.A. Reprints, No. 5 : 14,000,000 dollars have 
been expended on the new buildings at Washington. 

5 Published by the Institut International de Cooperation Intellectuelle in 1935. 


the State Papers, and a few others; and for whom the needs of 
the Student meant only the needs of Family History or Topo- 
graphy. If the suggestion had been made to them that for the 
Archivist all classes of documents in his custody must from 
certain points of view be said to have an equal value, they 
would certainly have considered that the person who put it 
forward was trying to gain a cheap reputation by the use of 
paradox : and to talk of Archive Science in such company 
was to run the risk of being thought rather silly. Outside the 
Public Record Office, though a number of official Reports * had 
drawn attention to the quantity, nature and importance of our 
Local Records, there were not more than two or three Local 
Authorities which had yet even considered the desirability 
of making special provision for the organization and mainten- 
ance of an Archive department : and after fifty years of 
demonstration, in the publications of the Historical MSS. 
Commission, of the quality and quantity of Private Collections 
in this Country local enthusiasts were still struggling with 
little success in most neighbourhoods to obtain that first 
requisite — a Local Repository where they could find housing 
and custody for documentary collections in danger of dispersal 
or destruction. 2 It is true that the local Record-printing 
Societies, in which this Country has long been particularly 
rich, 3 were educating public opinion in the value of private and 
local collections, had succeeded in interesting the Public 
Libraries, and in one or two cases had established Repositories 
at their own head-quarters : but it is true also to say that the 
lack of Local Archive Centres and of Archivists was almost 

1 One of so early a date as 1801 : see the summary of its predecessors' work in 
the Third Report (1919) of the Royal Commission (1910) on Public Records. 

2 See on this point below pp. 38 seqq. 

3 Something like 300 Societies whose publications are of interest to Historians 
were listed in Supplement No. 1 to the Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research 
in 1930 ; and of these a large proportion undertake a certain amount of Record 
publication. In 1934 when the British Records Association organised an Exhibition 
of Record Publications issued in this way it was able to shew, for a period of five years 
only, 360 volumes. 


The first step towards rilling the second of these gaps was 
made when the Library Association included Palaeography 
and Archive Science in the schedule of subjects for its diploma ; 
and soon after a School of Librarianship came into existence 
in London University which made these subjects part of its 
regular curriculum. 1 The service thus done by Librarians to 
Archive Science in England can hardly be exaggerated : they 
have the credit of being the first body to recognize the existence 
of the subject and make provision for its teaching. To describe 
all the other developments which have taken place during the 
period under review would again be too long a task : but I will 
venture to single out five events as representing well-marked 
stages of growth. 

(i) The publication (igig) of the 6 Third Report ' of the Royal 
Commission (igio) on Public Records. 

This Report dealt with Local Records and though the 
demands made by the Commission were, in the judgement of 
some, too sweeping, they have been the starting point for 
much that has been done since : and the Appendices to 
their Report assemble a very large amount of valuable 
(ii) The opening (ig2i) of the Institute of Historical Research in 
the University of London. 

This may be taken as marking the recognition of research 

upon documents, and particularly Archives, as in general 

an essential part of English graduate work in Medieval 

and Modern History. 

(iii) The issue (ig2j, ig24) of the present edition of the ' Guide to 

the . . . Public Record Office,' by Mr. M. S. Giuseppi. 

I have dealt in Appendix I with this subject : the im- 
portant point is that for the first time the Public Records 
were described officially on the basis of structure, not subject 
interest. Parallel to this was the preparation of a complete 
Catalogue of Official Means of Reference to the Records, 
arranged on the same plan : and it was followed (1933) by a 
new ' Summary of Records,' also in a parallel arrangement 

1 The present Manual was partly written as a text-book for Students of that School. 


and with a complete set of numerical references to all classes. 
Other new pieces of organization which will be described 
below 1 are likewise in close relation to this development. 

(iv) The Amendment (1924) to Lord Birkenhead's Act of 1922. 
This Act, by abolishing copy-hold tenure, had destroyed 
the practical utility of Manorial Court Rolls : and fears 
were entertained for their safety. The Amendment, which 
put them under the charge and superintendence of the 
Master of the Rolls, set up for the first time a direct connexion 
between the Head of the Central Archive Establishment (the 
Public Record Office) and Local Records. Incidentally, it 
led to his official recognition of Local Repositories for every 
County in England ; whose work of conservation is already 
extending far beyond Manorial collections. 2 

(v) The foundation {1932) of the British Records Association. 
This body, whose aim is to co-ordinate the work of all 
Institutions and Individuals interested in work upon Archives 
from any angle, has been so far very successful in enlisting 
the support of Local Authorities and other Institutions of 
all kinds ; and if it continues should ultimately be able to 
furnish on a voluntary basis something like the national 
organization of Archive work which in other Countries is 
statutorily provided. 

It would be unwise to be too optimistic : we in England 
have a long way yet to go in arousing the interest of all Archive- 
owning Institutions, in assuring the creation of the necessary 
Repository space and the supply of trained Archivists, and in 
preventing meanwhile the destruction of documents. But 
undoubtedly we are at the moment on a rising tide of popular 
appreciation and general understanding of the value of Archives 
and of the existence of a special branch of learning dedicated 
to them. I hope I shall not be found presumptuous if I say that 

1 See pages 133-135. 

2 These Repositories are provided by Institutions of the most varied description — 
Archaeological and Historical Societies, Museums, Libraries and Local Authorities. 
The extent to which the last named, especially County Councils, are now opening their 
Muniment Rooms to non-official documents is both striking and symptomatic. 


I have thought it worth while in these circumstances to keep in 
circulation what happens to be the only general treatise on the 
subject in English. 

The changes which I have found it necessary to make should 
prevent any suspicion that I think I, or anyone else, can say 
the last word (save in the matter of principle) about what I 
know to be a developing science. My original plan was to 
reproduce most of the first edition photographically ; and 
though this has been abandoned the work retains its original 
form. On the other hand small changes have been made on 
every other page ; and certain parts have been re-written at 
much greater length — notably those dealing with the physical 
care of Archives (housing, repair, make-up, etc.) ; x those 
regarding arrangement and references ; 2 those concerning 
listing, calendaring, etc.; 3 the passages touching materials 
and documentary forms ; 4 and the Appendix on Classifica- 
tion. 5 I would also call attention to new matter regarding the 
Archivist's own Registers, 6 the question of Archive Quality, 7 
and the Enemies of Archives. 8 

I have even more need now than in 1922 to acknowledge 
the help of colleagues and friends too numerous for individual 
mention : but I should like to associate still with my book 
the names of three former colleagues — Mr. M. S. Giuseppi, 
Mr. Charles Johnson and the late C. G. Crump. I should like 
also to add some tribute to the now considerable number of 
students — Librarians, Archivists and Historians — who have 
attended classes of mine and whose questions and interest have 
done more than they knew (but not more than I gratefully 
acknowledge) to direct my own enquiries. 


Chelsea, 1937. 

1 Pp. 45-83 and App. III. 2 Pp. 115-117 and 121-123. 

8 Pp. 125-132. 4 Pp. 157-165. 6 Appendix I. 

•Pp. 133-135. 7 Pp-i54>i55- 8 Appendix IV. 




i. General Introduction ....•••• I 

2. What are Archives ? ,.,»,."." 2 

(a) The Official Character — (b) The Circumstances of Writing — 

(c) A Definition of Documents — (d) Archives Public and 
Private — (e) When Documents become Archives — (/) Custody. 

3. Definition of Archives • .11 

4. Archive Quality and the Historical Criticism of Archives . .11 

5. The Duties of the Archivist J 5 

6. Illustration from English Archives 10 

7. Standardization of Method . . • '„,.'«,' ! ? 

8 The original appearance and present reproduction of this Book 20 

9. A new Problem : the Making of the Archives of the Future . 21 

10. Summarizing ....••••• 22 



1. The Evolution of Archives . . . • • • 2 3 
(a) Primary Division of Archives — (b) Earliest Archives : the File 

— (c) Differentiation — (d) Differentiation, continued — 
(e) The varying careers of Archive Classes — (/) Differentiation 
of Archive Classes and the redistribution of duties among 
personnel — (g) Archives Ancient and Modern, Public and 
Private — (h) Order of Differentiation — (i) The Hands of 
former Archivists. 

2. Transmission of Archives : the Question of Custody . • 3 2 
(a) Where the Administration which produced the Archives con- 
tinues to function — (b) Where a new Administration carries on 

the same Functions — (c) Where the Function ceases but the 
Administration goes on — (d) Where both Administration and 
Function cease — (e) Mixed cases — (f) Custody : what is a 
Responsible Person ? 

3. What is an Archivist ? . . • • • • • -3° 

4. Archives and Museums. . . • • • • • 4 1 

5. The Primary Duties of an Archivist : 

(i) Physical Defence of Archives -44 

(a) The Repository — (b) The Repository, continued — (c) The 
Repository : Provision of Accommodation for Students — 



(d) The Repository : General Plan — (e) The Repository : 
Internal Fitting and Packing — (/) The Make-up of Documents : 
Rolls ; Outsize Documents ; Loose Documents ; Volumes — 
(g) Handling and Damage — (h) Theft — (i) Misplacing — 
(j) Labels — (k) Repairs : Principles and Rules of Work ; 
Materials ; Methods of repairing Parchment and Paper — 
(/) Binding — (m) Seals — (n) Artificial Aids to Reading — 
(o) Special Dangers — (p) Archive Museums and Safe Rooms. 

6. Primary Duties of the Archivist : (ii) Moral Defence of Archives 83 
(a) Introductory — (b) Reception : Old Numeration and Lists : 

Order of Arrival — (c) Accession Numbers — (d) Original or 
early Files, &c. — (e) Stamping and Numbering : Methods 
and Rules — (f) Stamping and Numbering : the Accessions 
Register — (g) Stamping and Numbering : the Single Docu- 
ment ; the File or Volume ; the Enclosure, Schedule, or 
Insertion — (h) First Packing — (i) The Alteration of References 

— (j) The Archivist's Notes — (k) Archive Arrangement : its 
Object — (/) Arrangement : Chief Principle — (m) Arrange- 
ment : Procedure — (n) Arrangement : Slip-making — (0) 
Arrangement : the Vertical Divisions of Archives — (p) The 
1 Fonds ' or Archive Group : Definition — (q) Where one 
series of Archives is divided between two Archive Groups — 
(r) Arrangement within the Archive Group : accepted theories 
and some difficulties — (s) Arrangement : another suggestion 

— (t) Arrangement : Class Headings — (u) Old Series, New 
Series, and Miscellanea — (v) The case of Archives misplaced 
or never arranged — (w) The Making of the Inventory — (x) 
Final Packing and Numeration — (y) The Making of the 
Inventory, continued — (z) Deposited Collections and Tran- 
scripts — (ad) Repository Lists — (bb) Catalogue of Indexes, 

7. The Archivist, the Administrator, and the Historian. . . 123 

8. Secondary Duties of the Archivist. . . . . 125 
(a) The Guide — (b) Various Means of Reference to Archives — 

(c) The Archivist and the Editor — (d) The List — (e) The 
Descriptive List — (f) The Descriptive List, continued — 
(g) The Transcript, Calendar, etc. — (h) Conclusion. 

9. References to Archives printed or used by Students . . .132 
10. The Archivist's own Registers . . . . . 133 



1. Introductory: old Archives and new Tendencies . . .136 

2. The General Practice with regard to Selection and Destruction . 138 

3. Destruction : Grounds and Justification alleged . . 139 



4. Destruction : the usual methods of selection for this purpose 
(a) Word for Word Duplicates — (b) Museum Specimens and 
Composite Classes — (c) Sense Duplicates — (d) Documents not 
considered to be of sufficient value to justify their preservation 

Destruction of Ancient Archives : who is to be responsible for it 
Present provision for Destruction ; and the Future of Archives 
The Selection of Modern Archives . 
Summarizing .... 
9. The work of the Archive Maker 

10. The Golden Rule of Archive Making 

1 1 . Conclusion ..... 





J 52 



1. Introductory . . . . . . . . -156 

2. Materials, Old and New . . . . . . .157 

(a) Paper — (b) Paper, continued : recent Reports — (c) Paper, 

continued : Control of Use — (d) Inks — (e) Paints — (f) 
Typewriters — (g) Pencils — (h) Paper-fasteners — (t) Packing 
Materials and Methods — (j) New Materials — (k) New 

3. New Methods of doing Business ; and their Appearance in Archives 
(a) Conversations and Telephone Messages — (b) Copies of Dictated 

Letters and Telegrams — (c) Personal Letters — (d) General 
Results of the New Methods. 

4. Indexes .......... 

5. Over-production of Documents ...... 

6. A Remedy : Re-introduction of Control .... 

7. New Functions of the Registry ...... 

(a) Materials — (b) Methods employed — (c) Preservation and 


8. The Records of the Registry itself ...... 

(a) Accession of Documents — (b) Placing Documents and con- 
necting them with others — (c) Description of Documents : 
Subject — (d) Description of Documents : Nature — (e) Distri- 
bution of Documents in the Office — (/) The Resulting 
Register : and Subsidiary Documents. 

9. Minutes and Accounts . . . . . . . .177 

0. The Use of the Register . . . . . . .178 

(a) Documents which may be destroyed immediately — (b) Cases 
reserved — (c) The Routine of Destruction — (d) Cases for 
Further Consideration — (e) Final disposal — (/) The limit 
of Current Use and the passing of Documents into Archives. 






1 1 . Classes of Documents not registered ; and some other con- 
siderations . . . . . . . . .184 

(a) Minutes, Proceedings, and Accounts — (b) Separate Treatment 
of * Annexed ' Documents — (c) Confidential Documents — 
(d) Indexes and Subsidiary Documents of Registry. 

12. The Staffing and Organization of Registry .... 187 

13. Registry and the Archivist . . . . . . .189 

14. Summary and Conclusion . . . . . . .190 


I. The Classification of Archives, with some mention of the 

Documentary Classes cited in this book . . . . 191 

II. Sketch for a Bibliography of Archive Science . . . 198 

III. Specifications: 205 
(a) Racking and Shelving — (b) Boxes — (c) Trays to contain 

Fragile Documents — (d) Folders and Portfolios — (e) 
Filing Press and File Boards — (f) Repair of Bindings. 

IV. Some Enemies of Manuscripts . . . . . .218 

V. Archive History: An Illustration ..... 224 

i. Archive History of the Exchequer of Receipt, 
ii. Chart to illustrate Development of Periods of Issue. 


Two works very frequently quoted in this Book are — 
Muller, S. ; Feith, J. A. ; and Fruin, R. Handleiding voor het ordenen en 
beschrijven van Archieven . . . (Groningen : 1898) : quoted in the 
French Edition Manuel pour V arrangement et la description des Archives 

. . . (La Haye : 19 10); and 

Royal Commission on Public Records (1910) First, Second, and Third 
Reports (London : 1912, 19 14, 1919)- 

The first has been cited throughout as 
Muller, Feith and Fruin ; 
the second is also abbreviated where there is no possibility of confusion. 



§ i. General Introduction 

It is hardly necessary to say that History, as it is understood 
now, has become very largely dependent on Archives. New 
varieties have been added to it, Personal Narrative or Political 
History making way to some extent for Constitutional History, 
Legal History, Economic and Social History, and finally 
Administrative History ; 1 and it is possible that there may 
be others to come. This growth of scope has resulted largely 
from the opening up of new material and new possibilities by 
the recognition, especially towards the end of the eighteenth 
and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries, of the value of 
Archive sources, and by the gradual process of making them 
available — physically available to those who can spend time 
in Archive Repositories and Muniment Rooms and available 
to all the world by printed List, Index, and Calendar. Pre- 
served oral tradition, contemporary narrative, comment and 
criticism, personal memoirs, official or semi-official compilations 
— these will no doubt continue to hold a position, often very 
important, among the sources upon which the ultimate his- 
torian draws for his final synthesis of the facts about any given 
period, movement, crisis, or relation. But it is more than 
doubtful if any authoritative historical work will ever again be 
published without copious notes referring to verifiable manu- 
script sources ; and it has become a recognized fact that such 
a work must be preceded by and dependent on the cumulative 

1 At the time this book was written, the first two out of six volumes of the late 
Professor Tout's Chapters in the Administrative History of Medieval England had just been 
published — a marked stage in the development of the subject. Scattered studies on 
individual aspects of it are now exceedingly numerous: see for example Mr. A. B. Steel's 
Bibliography of about 150 concerning the medieval Exchequer, in American Historical 
Review, XXXIV (1929). 


effect of a quantity of studies by other hands x in which settled 
opinion upon comparatively small points is based upon the 
laborious examination and analysis of details in Archives. 

If this is so it is clear that some of us should be concerned 
with the keeping of the Archives of the past and perhaps with 
the making of the Archives of the future. 

§ 2. What are Archives ? 

We are faced at once with the necessity of choosing a 
nomenclature and fixing a definition. With regard to the 
name, we have a choice between Records and Archives. The 
first of these is highly technical and narrow in its correct sense 2 
and exceedingly loose in its ordinary usage. There is little 
doubt that we must adopt the second — Archives* — which has 
the advantage of being common to many languages. Yet this 
too rather lacks preciseness in its ordinary use : no less an 
authority than the Director of the French Archives Nationales 
has used 4 the word as excluding among ancient documents only 
' les ceuvres historiques, scientifiques et litteraires, qui ont leur 
place, non dans les archives, mais dans les bibliotheques ' ; 
and another distinguished French author makes the difference 
between Archives and documents mainly a matter of the 

1 ' The great man when he conies may fling a footnote of gratitude to those who have 
smoothed his way, who have saved his eyes and his time ' : F. W. Maitland on the 
spade-work of history, quoted in H. A. L. Fisher's Biographical Sketch, p. 36. 

2 ' An authentick and uncontravertable testimony in writing contained in rolls of 
parchment and preserved in Courts of Record,' is a typical definition. With this may 
be compared the carefully observed distinction (see below, App. V(i) (k)) between the 
Clerk of the Pells who recorded at the Exchequer of Receipt and the Auditor of the same 
Department who merely entered : this though the documents kept by the two might 
be duplicates. See also the statement made in the eighteenth century that an Office 
copy could not be made at the Treasury of the Receipt from the Archives of the Mint 
because these were not Records (Sir F. Palgrave, Antient Inventories and Kalendars . . . 
(1836), vol. i, p. cxi). 

3 The use of the word has a respectable antiquity in England : for example — 
Sir Thomas Smyth, De Republica Anglie (London, 1583), p. 53, calls the Master of 
the Rolls Custos Archiuorum Regis. 

4 Langlois et Stein, Les Archives de VHistoire de France, p. 1. Cf. the same author's 
definition in the Revue Internationale des Archives, des Bibliotheques et des Musees (1895-6), 
Part I, p. 7 : ' depots de titres et de documents authentiques de toute espece qui 
inte>essent un fitat, une province, une ville . . . ', &c. 


subject dealt with. 1 The Oxford English Dictionary, while 
deriving the word from the Greek apxeiov, which is explained 
as meaning a magisterial residence or public office, gives the 
meanings of the English word as ( 1 ) a place in which public 
records or other historic documents are kept; and (2) a historic 
record or document so preserved. Here the absence of any 
distinction between a ' historic record ' and a ' document ' does 
not appear to be altogether supported by the quotations given, 
and in any case we are rather left where we were in our quest 
for a definition. We shall perhaps do best, keeping the deriva- 
tion of the word in mind, to make one for ourselves by com- 
paring in some well-known case documents which are obviously 
Archives with others which are obviously not. 

Thus in 1914 England broke off relations with Germany. 
The Historian of the future who desires to write an account 
of that historic fact will, we may assume, examine the written 
information contained in various apx eLa -> m tne offices, in fact, 
of the various Public Departments of the time. He will find 
that he can draw from the collections preserved for its own 
reference by the Foreign Office the official copies of the Treaties 
which had at various times been made between the nations 
concerned ; from the same source he will obtain the correspon- 
dence that had passed between Ambassadors and Secretaries of 
State ; the Admiralty and War Office will furnish Accounts, 
Reports, Returns and Copies of Orders and Memoranda accu- 
mulated in preparation for a possible war ; contemporary 
police arrangements will be revealed by a study of papers from 
the Home Office. These and their like are clearly Archive 
authorities for that historic fact, the Outbreak of War ; and 
the quality common to all of them is that they are actual 
material parts of the administrative and executive transactions 
connected with it. The historian, coming afterwards, may 
examine, interpret, analyse, and arrange them for the purposes 

1 A. Lelong, article on Archives in the Repertoire General alphabetique du Droit Francois 
(1889) vol. v, chap. 1 : cf. 3, § 4. Monsieur Joseph Cuvelier, in his Role des Archives 
(Brussels, 191 1), instances other definitions, all very loose and all different: and 
Signor Eugenio Casanova in Archivistica (Siena, 1928) has contributed a new, specially 
Italian, version. 


of his treatise : they themselves state no opinion, voice no 
conjecture ; they are simply written memorials, authenticated 
by the fact of their official preservation, of events which 
actually occurred and of which they themselves formed a part. 

The Reports, more or less unofficial, of speeches which com- 
mented on the situation in the House of Commons, the leaders 
in The Times, the official communiques set out in the Press, 
the memoirs of the German Chancellor — these are supple- 
mentary evidences, possibly valuable ; but they are not in any 
primary sense Archives. 

On the one hand, therefore, we have documents which are 
material survivals of certain administrative or executive 
transactions in the past, preserved for their own reference by 
the responsible persons concerned : first-hand evidence, because 
they form an actual part of the corpus, of the facts of the case. 
On the other hand we have statements and expressions of opinion 
by persons who may, or may not, have been capable reasoners, 
in a position to know the facts, and unprejudiced. It is clear 
that if enough of the first class of these evidences survive and 
if he be able to appreciate their significance the Historian will 
have in them material for an exact statement of the historic 
facts. Given the opportunity he will probably use both 
classes because he will want to know not only the facts but the 
circumstances of the case ; but the first is indispensable. 

(a) The Official Character, We have thus reached the first 
stage of our definition. Archives are documents which formed 
part of an official transaction and were preserved for official 

(b) The circumstances of writing. But now let us take 
a step farther. We excluded from the ranks of the Archives 
a copy of The Times. But this is not to say that The Times or 
any other written or printed expression of opinion may not 
under certain circumstances be included among Archives. For 
example, we may imagine a copy of The Times filed in the 
Foreign Office, with a note that the Secretary of State wishes 
copies (with or without correction) to be dispatched with 
covering letter to certain British Ambassadors : such a copy 


would of course form an evidence of the activities of the Foreign 
Office in a certain direction. 1 It would seem, therefore, that 
our definition must include both documents specially made for, 
and documents included in, 2 an official transaction. 

(c) A definition of Documents. It will be noticed that 
printed matter has become, incidentally, included among our 
Archives. The fact is that in modern times the word document, 
which we use in default of a better, is very difficult to define ; 
and at any time the line between Documents and what are 
known in English Law as Exhibits 3 is an uneasy one to draw. 
Thus we cannot say that a document is something which gives 
information in writing ; for the Record Office series of Port 
Books gives us examples where the mere formal title, or other 
identification mark on the cover, converts an absolutely blank 
book into a perfectly good Archive : 4 we cannot rule that to 
come into our purview a piece of printed matter must have 
some MS. added or attached ; for the official copies of printed 
'Acts ' among the Records of the Colonial Office (not to speak 
of printed Proclamations 5 among the State Papers) are equally 
authenticated by the absence as by the addition of MS. com- 
ments. Again there is a case where an undoubted Archive 
consists of an old pair of military epaulettes ; and among 

1 The distinction between the ordinary copy of the paper and one thus preserved 
in Foreign Office Archives may be seen if we imagine the comment of the Historian : 
' the direction taken by popular feeling is clearly shown in an article which appeared 
in The Times on this date . . . that the Government was anxious to take full advantage 
of this is evidenced by the fact that the Foreign Secretary thought it worth while to 
forward a copy . . . '. 

2 We need hardly say that these partake of the character of Archives only as from 
the time when official use was made of them. Thus a document may be itself 
of the twelfth century but as an Archive date from the twentieth : cf. below 
(pp. 102, 115) Part II, § 6 (q) and (x). 

3 The word Exhibit itself originally refers to documents, and the Oxford Dictionary, 
which quotes a use in this sense in 1626 (cf. its use in a statute of 14 Charles II), can 
only produce a quotation of 1888 for its use in the sense of material objects other than 

4 K. R., Port Books : these blank books are a substitute for the more usual 
' nil return '. 

5 For example those which occur among the State Papers Henry VIII in the Record 
Office, many of which are known in unofficial copies in private collections such as that 
of the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres. 


enclosures to letters, forming in each case an integral part of 
the document, the writer can recall portraits and other pictures, 
maps, 1 human hair, whip-cord (part of a cat-o'-nine-tails), a 
penny piece inscribed with disloyal sentiments and a packet 
of strange powder destined to cure cancer. The line between 
what is and what is not, by a little writing added or attached 
to it, converted into a document is one so difficult to draw, and 
the question of separating enclosed objects from the document 
to which they belong raises so many difficulties and objections, 
that probably our best course is to be dogmatic ; including 
under ' Documents ' for the purposes of our definition (i. e. as 
things admissible to the class of Archives) all manuscript in 
whatever materials 2 made, all script produced by writing machines, 
and all script mechanically reproduced 3 by means of type, type- 
blocks and engraved plates or blocks : A adding to these all other 
material evidences, whether or no they include alphabetical or 
numerical signs, which form part of or are annexed to, or may be 

1 Maps or Plans are among the most usual things enclosed in or annexed to docu- 
ments, and examples might be cited from many classes of Public Records both ancient 
and modern, but especially such Archives as those of the Colonial Office and Treasury 
and the State Papers. To give only one instance, examples of printed maps of America, 
dated 1763, which have been applied to special uses and now form part of the Archives 
of the Treasury, will be found in T. 1/476. 

2 The Public Record Office collections alone oblige us to include parchment, 
vellum, paper, paper- and card-boards, leather of various kinds, wood, and varieties 
of woven material. 

3 For some notes upon the entry of printed matter into Administrative use in England 
see a paper on English Current Writing and Early Printing in the Transactions of the 
Bibliographical Society for 191 5. 

4 Examples of Archives in type have already been given. Type-block is the 
term usually employed of printed letters as reproduced in the Elizabethan and 
later Writing Masters' Books. The writer has noted no instance of the use of such 
blocks amongst Archives, but it might quite well occur. The word ' engraved ' is 
intended here to include all kinds of modern photographic processes in which 
engraving by acid is employed : but early examples of the use of tool-engraved 
plates for Archive purposes can be found ; for example amongst Bishops' Certificates 
of Institutions to Benefices of the eighteenth century (e. g. Bishop's Cert. Bristol 25 : 
which may be compared with contemporary MS. examples) and in early nineteenth- 
century forms used by the Commissioners of the Treasury in addressing the officers 
of the Exchequer of Receipt, by the War Office (e. g. in W. O. 25, 745) for Returns 
of Officers' Services, and so forth. Engraved titles and headings are not uncommon 
in the eighteenth century. Modern photographic process reproductions are common 
amongst the Copyright Records in the Public Record Office, but these are generally 
cases of ' annexing '. 


reasonably assumed to have formed part of or been annexed to, 
specific documents thus defined. 

We differ here slightly from the Continental Authorities 
who, in their definition of Archives, include maps and plans 
and the like, but make no mention of the case of blank books 
or of material evidences annexed, even fastened, to documents : 
they prefer, indeed, to separate these last and relegate them to 
Museums, a procedure to which we object because it cannot be 
carried out to its logical conclusion in all cases without damage 
to Archives or Archive quality. 1 We use of course the word 
'annexed' literally as meaning something of a size to be fastened 
to or conveniently associated with the document to which it 
belongs. The distinction between what can and cannot be 
' annexed ' to a document is like all fine distinctions, difficult. 
Its particular difficulty may perhaps be illustrated best by 
a reductio ad absurdum. Supposing for example that a Viceroy 
sends home to the Secretary of State in England an elephant 
with a suitable covering-note or label ; or supposing, to take 
a more actual example, that the Government of a Colony 
presents to the First Commissioner of Works in London a two- 
hundred-foot spar of Douglas Pine : the question may be 
imagined to arise : Is the spar ' annexed ' to correspondence 
with the Government of British Columbia ? Is the elephant 
attached to the label or the label to the elephant ? 

The answer to those who would put this dilemma to us in 
the present connexion is that the Administration would be 
obliged in all such cases to solve the question of housing — to 
send the spar to Kew Gardens or the elephant to the Zoo — 
long before the label or letter comes into charge of the Archivist: 2 
the problem is an Administrative, not an Archive one. 

(d) Archives Public and Private. But we have not yet done 
with our copy of The Times. Let us consider the case of an 
authenticated copy of that paper filed not in the Foreign Office 

1 It is quite opposed to the spirit of the rule (approved by all Continental authorities) 
which bases all modern arrangement of Archives upon that of their original compilers — 
— the ordre primitif : see below, Part II, § 6 (r). 

2 See below, the section dealing with the point at which his duties begin. 


but in the Office of the Newspaper itself. This is obviously 
part of the Archives of the Paper. It is true that it proves no 
more than that The Times was published on a certain day and 
contained certain statements : but its archive quality is exactly 
the same as that of the Treaty Paper preserved in the Foreign 
Office ; it is as incontrovertible evidence for the History of 
Journalism as is the Foreign Office paper for the History of our 
Diplomatic Relations. It seems then that Archives as a term 
must be extended to collections made by private or semi-private 
bodies or persons, acting in their official or business capacities. 1 
Local Authorities, Commercial Firms, the responsible Heads of 
any undertakings may, probably will, leave behind them 
Archives. Many, to quote a distinguished Belgian Archivist, 
do so as Monsieur Jourdain wrote prose. 

(e) When Documents become Archives. We are progressing 
with our definition but we have not yet finished. It is clear 
that documents written in and for any * Office ' are, from the 
time of their writing, ' Official ' documents and that others of 
external origin (letters received, for example) become c Official ' 
as soon as they are taken in for ' Office ' purposes. But we have 
not yet decided the point at which Letters or Memoranda cease 
to be Office Files and become Archives. Perhaps on account of 
a false derivation 2 the test of Archive quality has been generally 
taken to be that of age ; but a more satisfactory limitation 
would probably be the point at which, having ceased to be in 
current use, 3 they are definitely set aside for preservation, 

1 The word is also understood as including the documentary collections of private 
persons by Muller, Feith, and Fruin (§ i) and by Langlois (article in the Revue Inter- 
nationale des Archives . . . , quoted above) : cf. Mr. Gilson's notice of Mr. Johnson's 
book in History, April 1920, p. 42. Indeed the use goes back so far as to the remark- 
able Ministerial Circular of April 16, 1841, quoted by Bordier, Les Archives de la France 
(Paris, 1855), P. 8. 

An interesting example of the formality ascribed to the keeping of private (family) 
archives in England in quite early times is supplied by the use of the formal word 
irrotulatur in a note in an Inquisition post mortem (37 Edward III, First Numbers, 98) 
' et sic dies obitus eiusdem irrotulatur in Psalterio apud Midhurst ' : the entry in the 
family bible was, quite rightly, considered as an archive. 

3 The Greek word is dpx^ov not dpxaiov. 

3 Not necessarily ceased to be in use altogether. There are plenty of cases where 
documents have been drawn into the administrative circle again after a century or more 
of idleness : for example, see below (p. 33), Part II, § 2 (a), note. 


tacitly adjudged worthy of being kept. Unfortunately the time 
at which this occurs must obviously vary with circumstances. 
The closest definition, therefore, that we can use in this matter 
is to say that the documents are set aside for preservation in 
official custody. 

(J) Custody. The last point needs perhaps a little extension. 
Indeed we shall do well to stress it, for it is upon this question 
of custody that English Archives and Archive practice may 
make some real contribution to the sum of Archive Science. 
How distinctive the question of custody is may be seen by 
contrasting the English Deputy Keeper's Reports, with their 
chronicle of severely official accretions, with the accroissements 
by gift and by purchase which occupy so many pages in the 
Annuaire of the Belgian State Archives. 1 

Are all documents which owe their preservation to an 
administrative or official quality in their origin Archives ? 
Are the Additional Charters, for example, in the British 
Museum, the cream of so many private collections — are these 
Archives ? they certainly were so at one stage of their existence : 
or are they to be condemned because they have slipped from 
that official custody ? And what of the numerous collections of 
State Papers in private hands ? 2 When the head of a London 
business firm buys in the sale-room a quantity of the Medici 
papers, 3 exported from Italy for the purpose, are these Archives? 
If the modern purchaser of an estate, finding himself also the 
purchaser of documents, presents a number of accounts, with 
wooden tallies attached, to an Anthropological Museum, 4 are 
these Archives ? and if all these are Archives, whose Archives 

1 Compare, for example, the interesting Archives de VEtat en Belgique pendant la 
guerre, 1914-1918, published under the direction of M. Joseph Cuvelier, with 
the 79th-8ist Reports of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records. 

2 See below, Part II, § 2 (e). 

3 Some of these documents, to which Mr. Self ridge, who bought them in London, 
was good enough to allow me access, certainly at one time formed part of the Medici 
Archives. They are now in America. 

4 The Science Museum at South Kensington possesses the only complete Exchequer 
Tally (stock and foil together) that I have seen. Tally Stocks in the Bank of England 
and similar institutions are still there in an Archive capacity : but stray examples 
(Exchequer and Private) may be found in Public Museums and Libraries (e. g. the 
Reference Library at Birmingham) and in private collections all over the country. 

i o INTRODUCTORY part i 

are they ? if they are not, at what stage did they cease to 
possess that quality ? 

The position of Records of the Common Law in England 
may help here to clear our conceptions. There are many series 
of Public Records, preserved at the Public Record Office in 
London, of which certain numbers have escaped through various 
vicissitudes in the past into various private or public collections, 
such as the British Museum. 1 Now a certified copy from one 
of the main body of these in the Record Office would be received 
in any Court of Law as evidence of the transactions it records : 
for one in the British Museum to receive the same credence 
would involve almost certainly the production of the actual 
document in Court and certainly its support by a body of 
expert testimony to its authenticity. The echo of this legal 
point in a literary or historical setting may be seen in the case 
of the well-known volume, 2 part of the Accounts of the Master 
of the Revels, which was for a considerable time in the possession 
of the antiquary Peter Cunningham though it has long since 
been restored to official custody. No certified copy from this 
document is given by the Record Office without a statement 
of the above fact in its history and those interested in Shake- 
spearian chronology are still disputing 3 (and unless some new 
external evidence is discovered will continue always to dispute) 
whether the entries on one page are or are not an interpolation 
by Cunningham. So great is the value of custody that the 
constant effort of private forgers in all periods has been to get 
copies of their forgeries enrolled in some public series, because 
they knew that the authenticity of the enrolment would never 
be called in question 4 and hoped that by a confusion of ideas the 

1 Examples are given below (Part IV, § 1 1 , note) of State Papers which have suffered 
in this way. Here we may quote the recently discovered case of original Papal Bulls 
formerly preserved in the Exchequer of Receipt and calendared there by Stapleton in 
1323 (see Part II, § 1 (c), note) which are now in the British Museum. 

2 Audit Office 3/908, No. 13. 

3 Modern controversy on this question was opened by Ernest Law's Some supposed 
Shakespearean Forgeries in 191 1. The latest contributions to a series of exchanges on 
the subject are S. A. Tannenbaum, Shakspere Forgeries in the Revels Accounts (New 
York, 1928) and A. E. Stamp, The Disputed Revels Accounts (Oxford, 1930). 

4 Compare the forgeries of early Royal Charters enrolled upon the later Charter 


thing enrolled would pass uncriticized. As will appear later, 1 
we do not wish to press for a purely legal definition of custody ; 
but the above examples make it clear that Archive quality is 
dependent upon the possibility of proving an unblemished line 
of responsible custodians. 2 

§ 3. Definition of Archives 

We may now attempt a definition which shall cover all the 
possibilities mentioned above. First we have defined a docu- 
ment as covering for our purpose manuscript, type-script, and 
printed matter, with any other material evidence which forms 
part of it or is annexed to it. A document which may be said 
to belong to the class of Archives is one which was drawn up 
or used in the course of an administrative or executive transaction 
{whether public or private) of which itself formed a part ; and 
subsequently preserved in their own custody for their own information 
by the person or persons responsible for that transaction and their 
legitimate successors. 

To this Definition we may add a corollary. Archives were 
not drawn up in the interest or for the information of Posterity. 

§ 4. Archive Quality and the Historical Criticism of Archives 

Outside this definition we have nothing but plain docu- 
ments — pieces of written evidence each one of which must be 

Rolls, e. g. the Charter to Wikes Priory, the two originals of which (quoted in the present 
writer's Palaeography and the Study of Court Hand), whether or no they were prepared 
at the time of the confirmation of one of them by Edward III, are certainly not authentic 
productions of Henry II 's Chancery. Another remarkable case in point is the document, 
now in the possession of Sir Thomas Barrett Lennard, Bart., which purports to give the 
arbitrement of Edward IV, under his sign manual and privy seal, in the case of the Dacre 
Barony, or Baronies ; and which was enrolled in Chancery, not without scrutiny, in the 
reign of Elizabeth. Had this been one of the Writs of Privy Seal addressed to the 
Chancery, and preserved among the Records of that Office, its authenticity would have 
been unquestioned ; whereas its authority, upon a point of some importance in relation 
to Barony jure uxoris, depends upon external criticism of its writing and so forth : the 
Privy Seal Office itself did not keep an enrolment or register (at least none has survived) 
against which such writs might be checked. I am indebted to Mr. H. A. Doubleday for 
this example. 

1 See below, Part II, § 2 (/). 

2 On the subject of Forgery, see again § 4 below. 

1 2 INTRODUCTORY part i 

treated upon its individual merits by the Historian or other 
student who would use it for his own purposes. Inside it, we are 
dealing with an enormous mass of documents which, however 
varied their origin and contents and the appeal which they 
make to students, however far apart their respective dates, 
have at least two common grounds upon which they can be 
analysed and tested, two common features of extraordinary 
value and importance. 

The first of these features is Impartiality. Drawn up for 
purposes almost infinitely varying — the administrative or exe- 
cutive control of every species of human undertaking — they are 
potentially useful to students for the information they can give 
on a range of subjects totally different but equally wide : the 
only safe prediction, in fact, concerning the Research ends 
which Archives may be made to serve is that with one partial 
exception these will not be the purposes which were contem- 
plated by the people by whom the Archives were drawn up and 
preserved. The single partly exceptional case is the one where 
they are examined for the light they throw upon the history of 
one branch or another of public or private Administration — the 
branch to which they themselves belonged. Provided, 1 then, 
that the student understands their administrative significance 
they cannot tell him anything but the truth. 

Impartiality is a gift which results from the first part of our 
definition of Archives. In the second part of that definition 
we stated that Archives were preserved in official custody and 
for official information only ; and this gives us the second of 
their distinguishing qualities, Authenticity. It would appear 
that not only are Archives by their origin free from the suspicion 
of prejudice in regard to the interests in which we now use 
them : they are also by reason of their subsequent history 

1 The proviso is, of course, sometimes a large one. For example, the series of 
Receipt Rolls of the Exchequer at the Public Record Office has more than once been 
used by students under the impression that they furnished a complete and accurately 
reckoned list of moneys received by the Crown : whereas they were in fact inaccurate 
and incomplete and at certain periods did not represent receipts. See the article on 
Tallies in Archaeologia, lxii, p. 367 ; and continuations in Proceedings of the Society of 
Antiquaries, second series, xxv, p. 34, and Archaeologia, lxxiv, p. 289. 


equally free from the suspicion of having been tampered with 
in those interests. 

The consideration of these qualities of Archives leads us on 
to that of the Historical Criticism of Documents * in general. 
One or two special Archive points may conveniently be dealt 
with here. 

In the first place, the possibility of forgery in the literary 
or historical interest may be practically ruled out : we have 
seen one example, or alleged example, it is true : 2 but forgery 
of this kind could not be of anything save the rarest occurrence, 
for it means that custody has been broken with the deliberate 
intention of falsification ; and that this has happened in 
comparatively recent times — in the case of many historical 
interests which are of modern growth one might say in very 
recent times — and without the custodians becoming aware of it. 

It is not to be supposed of course that forgeries of other 
kinds do not occur among documents which have come down 
to us in custody. They do ; both actual fabrications of 
documents and cases where documents have been tampered 
with after the date of their writing in the way either of 
suppressio veri or suggestio falsi : indeed we have already had 
some examples ; 3 and plenty of others might be found — forged 
Tallies, 4 forged Fines 5 and other forgeries, some of them 
discovered in their own day, some which it has been reserved 
for modern scholarship to detect. 

Now, from the point of view of their writing there are, as 

1 My original intention had been to develop this at more length in an Appendix 
with special reference to Archives : but the publication of Mr. R. L. Marshall's Historical 
Criticism of Documents : (S.P.C.K., Helps for Students of History, 1920) which puts 
within the reach of all students a convenient resume of the conclusions of Bernheim, 
Freeman, Seignobos, and others, made this unnecessary ; especially as we should 
have been mainly concerned to point out that most of the critical tests usually applied 
to historical documents are not, in view of the qualities described above, required in 
the case of Archives. 

2 The alleged Cunningham forgery referred to above, § 2. 

3 Cf. ibid., the reference to forgery of Royal Charters. 

4 See an article in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, second series, vol. xxv, 
p. 34 : an example communicated to me by the late Professor Willard is in Exchequer 
L. T. R. Memoranda Roll, 69 (1297), m. 32. 

6 See Mr. H. G. Richardson in English Hist. Rev., vol. xxxv (1920), p. 405. 


we have seen, two kinds of Archives ; those actually written 
by the persons who used them for the same administrative 
purposes which have caused them to be preserved down to 
our time, and those which were indeed used by those persons, 
have perhaps even come down to us in a copy by their hands, 
but which were written originally by some other persons 
and possibly in some other interest. In the case of the first of 
these classes we may once more practically rule out the possi- 
bility of forgery : the persons who wrote did so for their own 
reference and what motive could they have for deceit ? It is 
true that we have cases where, as in the two examples of 
forged Fines quoted by Mr. Richardson, custody has been 
violated and forged documents inserted in a genuine series 
by persons from without ; but these are altogether exceptional 
— it is noteworthy that both were speedily discovered and on 
the other hand that this class, perhaps the most commonly 
used of all Public Records, has yielded no other case of forgery 
to the examination of modern scholarship. In any case, given 
an unbroken custody, the possibility of forgery is practically 

Turning to the other kind of Archives, that of documents 
written originally by one person or body and preserved by 
another, we have not of course the same guarantee against 
forgery or tampering, because there are now two sides involved 
and either may have a motive for deceiving the other. Thus 
A., the body which preserved and was the means of the Archive 
coming down to us, may wish to foist upon B. the responsibility 
for a document purporting to be written by B. but really 
fabricated or garbled by A. : for example, the owner of a 
collection of deeds from other persons may quite well insert 
amongst them one forged by himself. 1 

On the other hand A. may have foisted upon it by B. 

1 To take again the example of the Fine, which was an Indenture made in triplicate, 
though it is, as we have said, so rare as to be almost impossible for a forgery to occur 
among the Feet (the parts of it preserved in the Court of Common Pleas), there were no 
doubt plenty of pretended second or third parts of a fine — forgeries — preserved in private 
collections (cp. again Mr. Richardson's article) ready to be used on any occasion when 
appeal was not likely to be made to the official series. 


a document which is not genuine and may innocently accept 
it and include it among its own Archives. We have seen 
already the case where forgeries of Royal Charters were pre- 
sented to the Chancery for confirmation, accepted by it and 
preserved to us both as originals 1 and in copies by its own 
hand on the Charter Roll. 

Summarizing, we may repeat that forgery or falsification 
is to be regarded as altogether exceptional among Archives. 
It is only to be expected (1) in the rare case where custody 
has been violated though the fact is not known, (2) where 
the Archive in question is not a single production but is of 
the kind made by one person or body and preserved by another. 
In such cases it is always open to the critic to ask if either 
party had any interest in deceiving the other. At the same 
time we are to remember that both parties had an interest 
in detecting each other's malpractices; and that neither had 
any interest in deceiving us. 

§ 5. The Duties of the Archivist 

The duties of the Archivist, as it is one of the chief functions 
of this volume to point out, become under these circumstances 
very obvious, at least in their main lines. They are primary 
and secondary. In the first place he has to take all possible 
precautions for the safeguarding of his Archives and for their 
custody, which is the safeguarding of their essential qualities. 
Subject to the discharge of these duties he has in the second place 
to provide to the best of his ability for the needs of historians 
and other research workers. But the position of primary and 
secondary must not be reversed. 2 

It is not his business to deal with questions of policy — to 
decide whether twenty thousand pounds, or one thousand or 

1 All early charters copied in confirmation have to be subjected to careful criticism 
owing to the ignorance of the clerks who copied them : cp. the case of the Wikes Charters 
already quoted. Compare also Ballard, An Eleventh Century Inquisition . . . (British 
Academy, Records of Social and Economic History . . . , vol. iv (1920), p. ix, where the 
ignorance of the Norman clerks of Domesday is illustrated. 

2 Cp. Muller, Feith, and Fruin, § 19. We deal with these duties in detail in Part II, 
especially §§ 3 and 5-9. 

1 6 INTRODUCTORY part i 

nothing should be spent on printing transcripts of his Archives ; 
whether the student would be best served by having the 
Archives in a Metropolis, or in the Provinces ; at what date 
modern * confidential ' Archives should be thrown open to the 
public. He will doubtless take an intelligent interest in such 
subjects, but as an Archivist he is not concerned with them : 
they are questions for Historians, Politicians, Administrators ; 
whom, at most, he may advise. 

We touch this point again later when dealing with the 
Secondary Duties of the Archivist. 1 

§ 6. Illustration from English Archives 

If the duties of the Archivist are simple in broad outline 
they are by no means so in detail ; and he can very easily 
by a very small ignorance do incalculable damage. It is 
therefore highly important that he should be supported by 
a theory based on the widest possible experience ; and it is 
a distinct lack that England, a country which, by reason of 
its unrevolutionary history and conservative habits and in 
spite of a long period of neglectfulness, has preserved a greater 
number of long and continuous Archive series than any other 
in Europe, should have made up to the present so small a 
contribution to the Science of Archives. An official pamphlet 
published in America though in English does not refer to 
English Archives. 2 With the exception of Mr. Charles Johnson 8 

1 See below, Part II, § 8. 

2 Note on the Care, Cataloguing, Calendaring and Arranging of Manuscripts, published 
by the Library of Congress (3rd ed., Washington, 1934). The connexion in which this 
pamphlet is published gives it naturally so much prestige that I feel bound to remark 
that among many excellent precepts it contains (especially in the part devoted to Arrange- 
ment but also, e. g., under Repairing) some suggestions which are contrary to the experi- 
ence and rules of Archivists in many countries. The writer, though he uses the words 
' Archival ' and ' Archivist ' frequently, does not distinguish satisfactorily between 
Manuscripts and Archives : and for the latter some of his proposals, such as that of 
sortation by ' less expert hands ' (p. 5) would be definitely dangerous. 

3 The Care of Documents (S.P.C.K., Helps for Students of History, No. 5). I have 
excluded the Reports of the Royal Commission of 19 10 because they deal rather with 
special cases than with general principles and are concerned more with national Archive 
policy than with practical rules for Archive keeping : though the existence of such 
rules mav often be inferred from their recommendations. 


(and his work is limited by its format 1 ) no one has yet attempted 
to draw from the extraordinarily wide field of English Adminis- 
trative History and Administrative Remains anything like 
a complete body of illustration of general Archive theory and 
practice. And the present 2 seems a favourable time for an 
attempt to fill this gap. 

As we propose to illustrate throughout from English 
Archives we shall need for reference purposes a Conspectus 
of the Divisions of Administrative Documents, Public and 
Private, in England. This will be found in Appendix I at the 
end of the present volume : but recent publications have made 
possible some modifications of its original form. 

§ 7. Standardization of Method 

We have been concerned so far to show that, within certain 
strictly defined limits, the word Archives is one of very general 
applicability. The circumstances which produce Archives being 
common and commonly recurrent in administration in all 
countries, and in all grades of administration, from the most 
private to the most public, it would seem, at first, easy to 
secure an advantageous standardization of all rules, great and 
small, for dealing with all Archives : some Authorities have 
aimed even at a standardization of terminology and of such 
small matters as the ways of expressing dates in inventories. 
This has been the aim of the learned authors of the Manuel 
pour le Classement des Archives ^ and they have been so far 
successful that their work is the recognized authority in more 

1 It runs to only 47 pages. Since this passage was written the Chairman of the 
Bedfordshire County Council Records Committee, Dr. G. H. Fowler, has published a 
very valuable work on the Care of County Muniments (1923 : 2nd ed. 1928) dealing in some 
80 pages with the problems particularly affecting a County Archivist. 

2 When this book first appeared the last of the three Reports of the Royal Commission 
(1910) on Public Records, with their valuable Appendices, had recently been published : 
and I was able to note also ' the much increased attention now given in this country to 
Librarianship and the inclusion of Archive Science in that subject '. The remarkable 
further development of interest in Archives since 1922 is dealt with in the Preface to the 
present re-issue. 

3 Muller, Feith, and Fruin formulate one hundred rules for classing and arrangement, 
each supplied with a considerable amount of illustrative matter drawn from the Archives of 
Holland, Belgium or France. 


than one country besides their own. It may be questioned, 
however, whether quite so rigid an application of principle is 
desirable, or at any rate possible, in all cases. They themselves, 
for example, have called attention x to the profound difference 
between Continental and English Archives caused by the 
absence in England of the disruptive and again assimilative 
influence of the French Revolution and of the circumstances 
which attended it at the end of the eighteenth and the beginning 
of the nineteenth centuries (the most formative period in 
modern Archive history) ; and even in the case of the countries 
for which they particularly legislated they have found it 
necessary to recognize that compromise may in certain circum- 
stances be desirable or even necessary. And there are other 
difficulties : in most countries (in France, for example, as well 
as in England) 2 the old methods of arranging and classifying 
have left their mark — a mark differing in different cases but 
unlikely in any case ever to be entirely effaced : again pro- 
found differences in methods of administration, 3 reacting upon 
the Records which survive, must have some influence upon 
nomenclature and perhaps even on arrangement : and the 
same may be said of different systems of Archive organization 
at the present day. 4 Similarly between us and any complete 
standardization there rises, among other difficulties, the great 
bar of language : who shall translate satisfactorily into English, 
for example, the word fonds ? and can we really, as a matter of 
practical policy, import into English Archive practice the 
distinction implied by the use of the word protocol ? 

On the other hand the few great principles which have 
governed and must govern the making, and should therefore 
govern also the classification, handling and use, of Archives 

1 Muller, Feith, and Fruin, § 36. 

2 The Archives Nationales still retain many traces of their old arrangement under 

3 The contrast between English Law and the various representatives of Roman 
Law is an obvious instance. 

4 The enormous number of authorities that control archive collections of a more 
or less public character in England at the present day, as shown by the late Commission's 
Reports, forms a good illustration of this point when compared with the centralized 
Archive Administration of (for example) Holland or Belgium. 


cannot but be the same everywhere. It has seemed best, 
therefore, to the present writer to allow these leading principles 
and their corollaries to emerge from an independent examina- 
tion into the nature, 1 the evolution, 2 and the stages in trans- 
mission 3 of Archives as they may be traced in this country, and, 
without any attempt at the formulation of rules which should 
cover all individual cases, to show how the same large principles 
may be applied, invariably, as criteria of correct procedure 
not only in the matters of arrangement and classification but 
upon any and every side of the Archivist's work — in his care 
for the physical state of his documents, his preservation of 
their moral qualities as Archives, his methods of listing, his 
procedure in calendaring and printing, his communications 
with the world of Research, and one other matter which is 
dealt with in sections 8 and 9 of this Part. In one or two 
cases (notably the question of custody to which reference has 
already been made) the result may be to lead us away from 
the conclusions of the Authorities of the Foreign School; 4 and 
we may find ourselves dealing with certain matters which they 
have not considered. For the most part, however, our view 
should be the same as theirs though taken from a different 
angle. And if the Archivist is here provided with a general 
guide rather than a detailed set of rules at least we should be 
sure that no theories are enunciated which are not applicable 
to Archive work in any country, nor on the other hand any 
first principles omitted. In most sciences and arts it will be 
found that special cases can be satisfactorily met by any one 
who combines a sound theory with ordinary common sense 
and both with practical experience. It is that combination 
that we wish to commend to the Archivist. 5 

1 See above, §§ 2, 3, and 4, the definition of Archive qualities. 

2 See below, Part II, § 1. 

3 Ibid., §§ 2 and 3. 

* Where such differences occur they are generally indicated in the text or in 

6 I had written the larger part of this work when my attention was called to 
the ' tentative outline ' for a Manual of Archive Management contributed by 
Mr. Victor Palsits to the Report of the Archives Commission of the American Historical 
Association for 191 3-14 ; published during the War this excellent scheme had 

2 o INTRODUCTORY part i 

§ 8. The original appearance and present reproduction of this Book 

My reasons for the re-issue of this Manual have been set 
out in the Preface. When it first appeared in 1922, in company 
with a number of Economic Studies relating to the War Period, 
I wrote under this heading as follows: — 

The practical side of historical study has been much emphasized by the 
events of the last five years. From the naval strategy of Great Britain 
at the beginning of the War to the work, largely historical, "which preceded 
the Peace Conference at the end of it, few important branches of war- 
time administration, whether on the military or the civil side, have been 
without a trace of the activities of the Historian; and certainly none 
have omitted to bring themselves into that position with regard to History 
which is implied in the amassing of Archives. In England some Public 
Departments have gone farther and have experimented in the production 
of something more than the customary Blue Book. For the War Office 
and Admiralty to issue their own versions of the Military and Naval 
History of a war is no new thing ; but the compilation by the Ministry 
of Munitions of an elaborate Economic Treatise, in the shape of its own 
History drawn from its own Archives, is distinctly a departure. Such 
activities reflect the addition of a new series of Archive problems to the 
already considerable number which faced us. The fact is that the 
enormous stock of fresh experience which has been accumulated during 
the War and which will be material for the work of the future historian, 
not to mention students in other branches of learning, is hidden in a mass 
of documents so colossal that the question of their housing alone (apart 
from those of their handling, sifting and use) presents quite novel 
features. 1 Nor is bulk the only problem. 

The questions raised already by the introduction into administration of 
new methods of communication and of recording (the telephone, for 
example, and the typewriter) become now pressing. In fine, it is largely 
the addition of this abnormal mass of new Archive matter to our existing 
collections which compels us to face the fact that we must make at any 
rate a beginning of settling our Archive problems, old and new, if we 
are to deal satisfactorily with the present and safeguard the future of 
research work. 

escaped my notice. A manual completed on the lines there laid down should contain, 
when it is issued, a large amount of what the Archivist requires in the way of sugges- 
tion and precept. But I still venture to hope that the present book, based on those 
Archives which have inspired the work of so many American scholars, may be found to 
contain a point of view and illustrations worthy of some attention. 

1 The Royal Commission {Third Report, vol. i, p. 38 : cp. ibid., vol. ii, pp. 120 et 
seqq.) estimated that the bulk was as large as that of the total previous contents of the 
Public Record Office. 


After fourteen years I have little to add to the above except 
that the problem of Bulk in Modern Archives is proving in the case 
of the Archives of Central Administration certainly no less 
serious than I anticipated x and that one result of a gratifying 
increase in the attention bestowed by Local Authorities on their 
Archives is to shew that the same difficulty is being or will 
have to be faced in every centre of Administration in the 
Country. Nor, of course, is the problem one which is confined 
to England. 2 

§ 9. A new Problem : the Making of the Archives of the Future 

The chief claim made for this work when it was first issued 
was that it purposed to raise at least one new question in 
Archive Science ; one which had up to then been little considered 
and for the forcing of which upon our attention these im- 
possibly bulky War Archives were largely responsible. The 
question was that of the making of the Archives of the future : 3 
and the post- War years have only served to emphasize it. Can 
we, faced with these modern accumulations, leave any longer 
to chance the question what Archives are to be preserved ? 
Can we on the other hand attempt to regulate them without 
destroying that precious characteristic of impartiality which 
results, in the case of the older Archives, from the very fact that 
their preservation was settled either by pure chance or at least 
by considerations which did not include the possible require- 
ments of future Historians ? There is considerable danger that 
a periodical compilation made by an office from its own 
Archives definitely for historical purposes 4 — even for publication 
— may come to be treated, by the uncritical historian, not as 

1 It has engaged the attention of an inter-departmental Committee and been the sub- 
ject of Official consideration in more than one connexion. 

2 In the United States National Archives the ' accumulation rate ' of public docu 
ments has been estimated at as much as 200,000 cubic feet per annum. 

3 Some indication of the existence of this problem appeared in an article in the London 
Mercury in April 1920. 

4 On the lines of the larger work which, as we have mentioned above, was compiled 
at the Ministry of Munitions. Note that what is here said does not apply to a Summary 
or Digest made for Office purposes. The distinction is a delicate one but of extreme 


a guide, but as an efficient substitute for the Archives them- 
selves. Can we prevent this and at the same time neutralize 
the threat of hopeless unwieldiness ? If we can do something 
to solve this problem, which, by the way, is not entirely a 
new one though presented to us now in a new light, we shall 
have done something to earn the gratitude of future research 

§ 10. Summarizing 

The first aim of this book must, it seems, be twofold. It 
is required to lay down in outline a plan of our duties to the 
Archives which have been left to us by the past ; a plan which 
shall be conditioned entirely by their own fundamental 
characteristics. From this first process we are to draw certain 
general principles of Archive values which we may attempt to 
apply to a new problem — the direction, without altering their 
Archive character, of the formation of the Archives of the 
future. Towards this end we have gone some distance by 
defining the word Archives and deducing from that definition 
certain ideas as to Archive Quality. 1 

importance. See below, Part IV, § 12, the discussion of the character of the Register 
in a modern office. Of course the copy of an officially compiled History which is filed 
for Record purposes becomes itself an Archive from the time of filing : it is evidence 
that a certain Historical View was officially put forward ; but not evidence of the Historic 

1 Above, §§ 2, 3, and 4. 



§ i . The Evolution of Archives 

(a) Primary Division of Archives. The starting-point of 
the compilation of Archives in early times is an easy thing to 
imagine or even in the case of ancient collections to see in 
action. The official or responsible person — let us call him the 
Administrator — who has to preside over any continuous series 
of business functions, the manager of a small estate at one end 
of the scale, the controller of a kingdom's finances at the other, 
relies for the support of his authority on memory : so soon as 
writing becomes general in use he adopts the preservation of 
pieces of writing as a convenient form of artificial memory ; 
and in doing so starts a collection of Archives. He avails 
himself of this convenience by preserving 

the originals of written instructions or information he has 

received ; 
copies of similar documents which he has issued; 

memoranda (a diary as it were) of his own proceedings. 

All Archives must necessarily fall into these three groups — 
documents which come into an office ; (copies of) documents 
which go out ; and documents which do neither, which circulate 
within it. 

(b) Earliest Archives : the File. We see our Administrator, 
then, starting with the simplest of all Archive forms, a file ; 
which we use as a generic term for a sack or box or hamper 


or other receptacle * in which are contained, or a string on 
which are threaded, a miscellaneous collection of scraps of 
paper or parchment of these three kinds. 

In the case of English Public Archives, putting aside the contentious 
question whether we have or have not surviving fragments of Chancery 
Archives previous to the Enrolment period, we need go no further 
than to the famous Dialogus de Scaccario for evidence that this primitive 
state once existed in both the Chancellor's department and the 
Treasurer's. The Archives of the first of these, as they are known to 
Richard Fitz Niel, are the contrabrevia, 2 copies of those Royal Writs 
issued by the department of which it was desired to retain memory : 
in the case of the Exchequer the Dialogus gives us no hint, it is true, of 
a period when the Pipe Roll itself, the most venerable of English 
Records, was anything but a complete roll ; and it is possible that this 
most formidable of Archives was born like Athena : but it does clearly 
indicate a period, before the Pipe Roll existed, when the records of 
the finance department consisted of no more than bundles of wooden 
tallies. 3 As to other ' proceedings ' of the Royal Court in this country 
the writer has suggested elsewhere 4 that the beginnings of another 
most venerable series, that of the Memoranda Rolls of the Exchequer, 
may be clearly traced in certain very fragmentary pieces which have 
come down to us ; and it is possible that the earliest archives of the third 
great division of Medieval Royal Administration — the Legal — were of 
a nature to include those filed Feet of Fines of which we have the first notice 
in connexion with the year 1 163. 5 

So much for the second and third of our primary Archive 
classes (documents issued and proceedings). In the case of the 

1 White leather and other bags to hold records survive even now in many cases ; 
the ' Hanaper ' (hamper) gave its name to a whole Archive Department ; and the 
Domesday and other chests are prominent features in the Record Office Museum. 

2 Oxford ed., p. 82. The Dialogus was written in the latter half of the twelfth century 
by Richard Fitz Niel, himself a former Treasurer. 

3 Ibid., p. 60. 

4 In an article on the Financial Records of the Reign of King John in the Magna Carta 
Commemoration volume published by the Royal Historical Society : the view is again 
supported by passages in the Dialogus. 

5 At a later date we get clear indications of an intermediate stage between 
Miscellanea on files and the fully developed and formal legal record, the Plea Roll. 
These may be found in the class which represents the ' Ancient Miscellanea ' of the 
Court of King's Bench — that known as Ancient Indictments, which frequently contain 
fragments very closely parallel to the class of Assize Rolls, &c. For these see an 
article by Miss B. H. Putnam in English Hist. Rev., xxix, 1914, p. 479 ; and for the Fine 
cited here, L. F. Salzmann (ibid., xxv, 19 10, p. 708). On the subject of Feet of Fines see 
below Part II, § 2 (c), note. 


first, that of documents received x by the Royal Court, we are on 
even surer ground. It is hardly necessary to offer any proof 
that from the earliest times such documents, in the, form of 
a miscellaneous collection of isolated pieces, introduce some- 
thing which may be called an Archive Class into the contents 
of the Royal Treasury. Such is indeed the normal procedure 
in all countries and all ages ; as Palgrave reminds us in an 
apt quotation from the Book of Ezra. 

But we have gone a little in advance of our theme and 
must turn back to a consideration of the next stage in Archive 

(c) Differentiation. We come here upon the first of a series 
of steps in the evolution of Archives consisting of the separation 
of bulky or important classes from the main series of Miscellanea 
into separate files, boxes, &c. The very important single 
document may have a box or pyx or other receptacle all to 
itself, as is seen in various cases in the first of the Record 
Inventories printed by Palgrave, 2 cases which doubtless were 
a survival from still earlier times. Speaking, however, of the 
generality of Archives we may say that from an original 
collection not arranged upon any particular principle there 
will very soon be separated off such classes as by reason of 
their numbers or the fact that they are frequently required for 
reference are judged worthy of the dignity of a separate file. 3 

1 On the subject of these early collections see H. Hall, Studies in English Official 
Historical Documents (Cambridge, 1908), pp. 13 et seqq. 

2 The Antient Kalendars and Inventories of the Treasury of His Majesty's Exchequer 
(Record Commission, 1832) : the Inventory here referred to is that of Stapleton, com- 
pleted in 1323. The curious will find in this work some pictures of receptacles anciently 
used for the storing of Archives. The whole work, which contains specimens of English 
Archivists' work from the fourteenth century (Stapleton) to the seventeenth (Agarde) is 
of great historical interest to Archivists. 

3 An obvious class of these would be those writs which are periodically required 
for reference — the contrabrevia already mentioned, copies of Royal Writs issued by 
the Chancery which had some connexion with or bearing upon the Royal finances 
and would therefore be required at Audit. We may remark that once a class is thus 
differentiated it is a very small step, where the documents consist of copies or memoranda, 
from the making of such copies or memoranda on a series of scraps of parch- 
ment to their making upon scraps of an equal size which may be made up into a register 
or a roll : accordingly we shall presently find these contrabrevia taking the form 
of a roll. 


(d) Differentiation : continued. Differentiation may be 

based upon either the form or the subject-matter of the 
documents in question, the word * form ' being understood 
in the sense both of physical shape and of diplomatic con- 

It is very possible that the irregular but large size of the Inquisitions 
post mortem, among the Chancery Records, the Escheats as they were 
generally called, was the original cause of their being placed in separate 
files : x it is quite clear, to take a later example, that the reason why, 
among the Archives of the African Company, 2 the Journals of Cape 
Coast Castle formed a large separate series while the Day Books of that 
and other forts in Africa lay hidden 3 amongst masses of miscellaneous 
papers, was that the second of these series was contained in small 
paper-bound books while the first was an imposing collection of large 
volumes. An instance of differentiation based on another kind of 
form (the diplomatic form of the document) 4 is that of the earlier 
Norman Rolls, 5 which are enrolments of copies of such letters under 
the great seal as were made and dated in Normandy. While an example 
of differentiation based on subject-matter (and incidentally of a modern 
mistake in classification) 6 is supplied by the later rolls in the same class 7 
(dating from the fifth to the tenth year of Henry V), which are rolls of 
matters relating to Normandy ; having no better connexion than the chance 
identity of name with the earlier Rolls. 

1 These documents, inquiries regarding the property held by tenants-in-chief of 
the Crown, take the form of writs ordering the inquiries to be made (these were returned 
to the Chancery after execution) and the result of the inquiries in the form of parch- 
ments of an almost infinite variety of sizes and shapes according to the amount of the 
property to be described. 

That they occupied separate files as early as the reign of Edward III is well 
established. That other Inquisitions (such as those of the classes known now as 
Criminal and Miscellaneous) had their place on the Miscellaneous Files of the 
Chancery is equally certain (see Record Office Calendar of Miscellaneous Inquisitions, 
vol. i, preface, pp. vii and viii). There is further an indication that this distinction of 
the ' Escheats ' might occasionally be forgotten (ibid., p. xii, the Case of the 
' Proofs of Age ' found in 1841 on the ordinary Chancery Files). A good example 
will be found in the same place (p. xiii) of the rise of a small class — in this case 
the Inquisitions de Rebellibus — to the temporary dignity of a separate file. 

2 The Records of three Companies which traded to Africa under Letters Patent 
of Incorporation came into the possession of the Treasury and are now among the 
Archives of that Department in the Public Record Office : see below, Part II, § 2 (/). 

3 They have now been sorted out. 

4 It is possible that the Inquisitions post mortem should properly be assigned to 
this class. 

6 1 to 6 John, Numbers 1 to 7 in the present class at the Public Record Office. 

6 See the article on the Records of John already quoted. 

7 Numbers 8 to 17. 


It is worth while, in this connexion, to take a general view of differen- 
tiation in the Chancery. The original Miscellanea, or Files of Archives 
of all kinds, are split up into ( 1 ) Chancery Files — documents in filaciis — 
and (2) Chancery Enrolments. Amongst (1) we may distinguish 
Miscellaneous Files and Files dealing with particular subjects, while 
(2) immediately splits again into Patent, Charter, and Liberate Rolls, 
being rolls of three different kinds of letter under the Great Seal. Now 
note the progress of the Liberate Roll. 1 When we first meet it we 
recognize merely an enrolment form of the old file of contrabrevia already 
mentioned. Contrabrevia all take the form of letters close and it 
is only one step farther to add other letters close, not interesting the 
Exchequer, to those already enrolled, and our Liberate Roll becomes 
the Close Roll so well known to students in Record Commission and 
Record Office Calendars. But there is yet another step to come. The 
need for a separate roll is again felt and we get a new Liberate Roll split 
off from the Close Roll, which continues to exist separately. 

By a further extension this new Liberate Roll has added to it copies 
of other writs in a different form authorizing not the ' livery ' of money 
but the ' allowance ' of expenditure. 

We have gone into this case in some detail because in it we may 
see that the process of bifurcation is always going on, being indeed 
a condition of healthy active life, just as reproduction and increase 
are conditions of healthy active life elsewhere. But we may see some- 
thing else. Behind the newly-made series — in the case of the Chancery, 
the enrolments — there lies always a residuum of the undifferentiated, 
the old files, the classes which in the case of all English Medieval 
Courts have come to be known ultimately as the 'Ancient Miscellanea ' : 
and these, too, continue capable of throwing up new classes, which in 
their turn may bifurcate and carry on the development. Thus the 
Chancery Files contained always a certain number of Petitions referred 
by the Crown to the Chancellor or addressed to him directly. These 
might or might not be formed into special Files ; but out of them 
grew ultimately, some two hundred years after the system of Chancery 
Rolls had become an established thing, the great system of Equity 
procedure 2 at the Chancery and the great separate classes of files of 
Chancery Proceedings ; which in due course themselves split up into divisions 
— the divisions of the six Clerks — besides throwing off all kinds of sub- 
ordinate Archive Series. 3 

1 Liberate is the name given to writs authorizing delivery of money out of the 
Treasury. The Liberate Rolls here instanced must be carefully distinguished from 
the series bearing, at any rate in modern times, the same name, which was kept at 
the Exchequer of Receipt. This second series is interesting because it is made up 
from some of the same writs which gave us the Chancery roll, but at the other end : 
i. e. the Chancery Liberate are rolls of letters issued, the Exchequer series rolls of letters 
received ; both copied from the same originals. 

2 The distinctive feature of this Equity Procedure was that it began with a 
petition — a Bill of Complaint — addressed to the Chancellor. 

3 Chancery Depositions, Chancery Decrees and Orders, and the like. 


We are coming here to a fresh subject, that of the connexion 
between classes of Archives and classes of functions and 
functionaries in the Administrations which produce them. 
But before we deal with this it may be well to glance at the 
varying careers of all these generations of Archives. 

(e) The varying careers of Archive Classes. While the 

original stock, the Ancient Miscellanea, continues to flourish 

and perhaps to throw out fresh branches, what may be the 

fate of its various offshoots ? There are several possibilities. 

(i) An archive class may die out with the circumstances 

which brought it into being. 

Thus the presence of the Jews in England and the special business 
which resulted caused the appearance at the Exchequer of Receipt, 
where money was paid in, of two special classes, separated off from the 
normal series of Receipt Rolls — the Rolls of Receipts from Jewish Talliages 
and from other Jewish sources. 1 There was also a special legal Court, 
the Scaccarium Iudeorum, with Records which were probably 2 a differ- 
entiation from the contemporary Memoranda Rolls. Naturally with the 
expulsion of the Jews in 1290 all these Archive Glasses lapsed. We have 
seen already a small instance of a short-lived Archive Glass in the case 
of the Inquisitions de Rebellibus. 

(2) A class may be reabsorbed into the class from which 

it was differentiated. 

Thus in the period of Edward I and Edward II there arose gradually 
a habit of recording receipts from taxation separately at the end of the 
ordinary Receipt Roll ; sometimes separate membranes were used and 
a separate roll resulted. Later these entries returned to the main roll. 

(3) Some or all of the functions of an Archive Class may 
pass from it. 

Thus of the various uses of the Charter, the most formal of medieval 
letters under the great seal of England, which are summarized by Hardy 
in his introduction to the Rotuli Cartarum 3 most, during the fourteenth 
century, passed to another form of Royal letter, the letter patent, with 
a corresponding modification to the Charter Roll and Patent Roll.* 

1 See an article on Receipts from the English Jewry in Transactions of the Jewish 
Historical Society, vol. viii, pp. 19 et seqq. 

2 The suggestion here made has since been developed in an Introduction to Calendar 
of the Plea Rolls of the Exchequer of the Jews, vol. iii (1929). 

3 Record Commission edition, 1837. 

4 Perhaps an even better example is that of the Close Roll, one of the chief interests 
of which in the time of John and Henry III is that it contains the King's personal letters. 
The custom grew up of enrolling private Deeds on this in consideration of a fee : and 
that ultimately became (and still is) the sole use of the record. 


(4) Occasionally a series may be replaced by another 

having apparently the same functions and differing only in 


Thus the function of recording confirmations passed from the Patent 
and Charter Rolls in 1483 to the series of Confirmation Rolls, and these 
again gave way to the Patent Roll later. 1 

(5) A class may become itself so important that its original 

connexion with the parent stock is almost or entirely lost 

sight of. 

Thus the Exchequer of Pleas Plea Roll (the Record of a Common 
Law jurisdiction in the King's Remembrancer's department of the 
Exchequer) was probably in origin no more than a section split off from 
the Memoranda Roll ; but that origin 2 has become almost entirely obscured 
owing to its later growth and importance. 

(f) Differentiation of Archive Classes and the redistribution of 
duties among personnel. All this changing of function is of 
course closely parallel to, in many cases directly caused by, 
changes in the staff of the Office to which they belong or at 
any rate in the allotment of the staff's duties. Nothing is 
more important in a study of the growth of Archives than 
a study of the growth of the personnel of administration. 3 
New offices, as a rule, tend naturally and immediately (as 
we have had opportunity of observing in England during the 
Great War) to increase the efficiency of their internal machinery 
by increasing their staff ; they always tend to rearrange and 
reshuffle duties as soon as they have had some experience of 
administration. Few things are so striking in administrative 
history as the way in which most high functionaries of our 
own day have developed out of very humble medieval begin- 

Thus the keeper of the Domus Conversorum had added to his duties 
about the time of the expulsion of the Jews that of keeping the Rolls 
of Chancery ; to-day the Master of the Rolls is titular head not only of 
the Chancery Records but of all the more important Public Archives 

1 The Charter Roll finally lapsed in 1516. 

2 The theory here advanced has since been proved to the Author's satisfaction in an 
Introduction to Select Cases in the Exchequer of Pleas (Selden Society, 1932). 

3 Tout in his Chapters (already cited) emphasizes throughout the importance of a 
close study of appointments on the staffs of the various offices. 


of the Kingdom ; x besides enjoying eminent judicial functions and 
position : the Chancellor of the Exchequer of our day is an obscure 
clerk, hardly worthy of mention, in the time of the Dialogus : what had 
been subordinate posts about the medieval Exchequer became the 
prizes of Prime Ministers' sons in the days of Horace Walpole. To 
these large changes of function the Archive changes are always, as we 
have said, closely parallel ; but it is equally true that small changes in 
Archives generally connote some small change in the occupation of the 
places and functions of which the Archives are the visible sign. Probably 
the comparatively small changes in the functions of the various Chancery 
Enrolments are just as closely bound up with changes in the clerical 
staff as the appearance of the State Papers, so strikingly different in their 
form, or lack of form, from the executive instruments of earlier times, is 
bound up with the striking re-adjustment of the position and importance of 
the King's Secretary under the Tudors. 2 

(g) Archives, Ancient and Modern, Public and Private. It 
is important to observe that all the foregoing remarks, though 
we have illustrated them, for reasons of simplicity, mainly 
from Medieval Public Collections, apply equally to Ancient 
and Modern, Public and Private : there is practically — can 
be — no difference in the manner of development of functions 
and Archives which have existed a tempore de quo non exstat 
memoria, and of the statute-provided Administrations and 
Registers of later days. At most, the latter, having the benefit 
of many analogies to guide them, may start at the second of 
the stages of evolution we have noted : may skip the stage 
of Miscellanea. Thus Parish Registers for the entering of 
Weddings, Christenings and Burials came into existence 
without any noteworthy preliminaries as the result of Crom- 
well's injunctions in 1538 : though even so, the Archives 
thus started have not been without important subsequent 
modification, notably that effected by the Act of 181 2, which 
provided separate printed books for the three classes of entries 
— an obvious example of differentiation. 3 Similarly a modern 

1 By this survival the present Public Record Office occupies the site of the old Rolls 
Buildings and Chapel : cp. H. Hall, Studies in English Official Historical Documents 
(Cambridge, 1908), p. 118 ; quoting syth Report of the Deputy Keeper . . . 

2 On the early history of the State Paper Office, see Hall, pp. 30 et seqq. 

3 For a convenient summary of the history of Parish Register Form see A. Hamilton 
Thompson, Parish History and Records (Helps for Students of History : S.P.C.K.), 
pp. 42 et seqq. 


business firm when it comes into existence will not experiment 
but will start straight away with such books as the analogous 
experience of countless other firms of the same kind suggests 
to be suitable. It is hardly necessary to add that it is 
immaterial for our purpose whether the Authority which calls 
such Archives into existence be internal or external, the head 
of an office on the one hand, or on the other, Parliament, 
directing by statute that such and such Archives shall be 
kept : by one process or another they come to life and, having 
come, live and develop along certain lines. 

(A) Order of Differentiation. We have now two natural 
classifications of Archives. First, we saw that all Archives 
fall into three classes — things received, things issued, and 
proceedings : secondly, we found that they might be divided 
into two classes of undifferentiated on the one hand and on 
the other those which had been differentiated out, according 
to subject or form, into regular series. Whether these take 
the form of Rolls, Registers, or Files does not particularly 
affect us, nor alter the Archive character of the documents 
themselves : for example Close Rolls have since 1903 taken 
the form of Books without causing any break in the continuous 
series running from the time of John to our own day. We 
also saw that the process of differentiation is always going 
on — may affect a single set of Archives again and again. 

It is to be noticed that these two classifications do not 
always work into each other in the same way : we cannot 
say, for example, that any one of the three divisions of receipts, 
issues, and proceedings is always the first to be differentiated 
off from a class which contains all three. 

Thus at the Medieval Exchequer of Audit the two first series to be 
differentiated are the Pipe Roll (proceedings only) and the Memoranda 
Roll (which summarizes the whole business of the Department, In- 
letters, Out-letters, and Proceedings) : the Chancery on the other 
hand appears to have differentiated first the Out-letters (copies, mostly 
on Rolls), then certain classes of the In-letters (returns to writs, on files) ; 
while no Proceedings appear as a separate class for quite a considerable 
time. Medieval Legal Administration in England for a long time 
differentiates little save proceedings {Plea Rolls and the files of Feet of 
Fines). Among semi-public and private Archives, Bishops' Registers show 


us, it is true, Archives kept in a standard form, but the contents of the 
Registers are miscellaneous and a similar remark may be made of the 
Cartularies of private persons or Religious Houses. 

(i) The Hands of Former Archivists. Before we conclude 
this section we must not omit to mention one further stage in 
the evolution of Archives ; the stage, or stages, of development 
through which they have passed in the hands of other Archivists 
before they reach us. Unfortunately the earlier custodians of 
the Public Records in England (for example) have not always 
been as reasonable as we could wish in their treatment of their 
charges. To take only one instance the State Papers * are 
known to have had one classification in 1545 and to have been 
re-classified by Sir Thomas Wilson about 1620 and again by 
Sir Joseph Williamson about 1 680 ; they were then ' method- 
ized ' between 1764 and 1800 ; and between 1848 and 1862 
came under the State Paper Office classification : all this before 
they reached the Public Record Office, to undergo arrangement 
there. This again is a matter we shall have to consider later ; 
meanwhile we may remark that it is clear the very dating of a 
paper or the identification of its writer may depend upon our 
knowledge of its whereabouts at a date far removed, perhaps, 
from our own, but equally long after its original compilation. 

§ 2. Transmission of Archives : the Question of Custody 

In previous sections we have dwelt upon the extreme 
importance, for the preservation of Archive character in 
documents, of the question of Custody. In Section 1 of this 
part we have seen something of the evolution of Archives 
and of the Classes into which they fell and fall ; and in the 
last part of that section we referred to the stages through which 
any Archive Classes which are handed down to the modern 
Archivist may have passed in the hands of other Archivists, his 
predecessors. This may serve to introduce us to a consideration 
of the ways in which Ancient Archives have been commonly 
transmitted to our own times. Only upon a consideration of 

1 See Hall, op. cit., pp. 134 et seqq. 


such details in Archive history can we found a system of 
keeping and classification which may be held reasonably safe. 

(a) Where the Administration which produced the Archives 
continues to function. So long as the administrative or executive 
office discharged by the original owner of the Archives con- 
tinues to function, so long may this ' Administrator ' be 
considered to be undying. His successor or successors take 
over, by themselves or their deputies, his collections of written 
memorials and use them, when occasion arises, as their original 
compiler would have used them. 1 Thus the Heads of the 
Courts of Common Pleas and of King's Bench in (say) 1800 
were the possessors of what we may call a joint official memory 
dating back to the twelfth century in the shape of the Archives 
now known as Curia Regis Rolls. 2 

(b) Where a new Administration carries on the same functions. 
But now let us take the history a step farther. In 1873 the 
functions of the two Courts we have mentioned were transferred 
to the Supreme Court of Judicature. What then happened 
to their Archives ? Obviously they are transferred with the 
functions in question and start a new lease of life, the Archive 
line remaining still unbroken, as a part of the written memorials 
of this new Administrative body. 3 A precisely parallel case 

1 A good deal of the history of early consultation of Records is to be found in the 
case of the Public Records of England in the class at the Public Record Office known 
formerly as ' County Placita ' and now in the Chancery Miscellanea, being information 
transmitted to the Chancery by officials in charge of Archives elsewhere, such for 
example as Agarde and Fanshawe, whose signatures will be found in (e. g.) bundle 71, 
file 2. 

A good example of early consultation of Ancient Archives was noted recently in 
a Plea Roll of Edward Ill's reign, which bears a note (the copy of a writ) as to its 
consultation added in 16 James I {Chester 29/67, m. 114: cp. Curia Regis Roll 160, 
a Plea Roll of Henry III to which are attached two writs of Edward III). 

2 The earliest of these in existence dates from 5 Richard I : the Curia Regis 
was differentiated into two courts, known to us as the Courts of King's Bench and 
Common Pleas, in the thirteenth century, from which date they have separate 

3 Another example is afforded by the Records of the Office of First Fruits and Tenths 
set up by Henry VIII after the Dissolution of the Monasteries. These records passed 
to the custody of the Commissioners of Queen Anne's Bounty, a body set up, on the 
authority of an Act of Parliament, by letters patent of Queen Anne. They passed 


would be (to take only one instance) the acquisition of an 
estate with its title deeds and other muniments from the 
family of A., which had held it for ten generations, by the 
family of B., which proceeds to hold it for ten more. 

For example the Manor of Easter or High Easter, in Essex, originally 
in the possession of Geoffrey de Mandeville, passed through Beatrix 
de Say, his descendant in the female line, to Geoffrey Fitz Peter, through 
whose daughter it passed to the family of de Bohun, Earls of Hereford : 
after remaining in the de Bohun family for some generations it passed, 
again through the female line, to Thomas of Woodstock in 1371, thence 
once more through the female line to the Earls of Stafford after 1399, 
and thence, at the division of the Bohun inheritance in 1421, to King 
Henry V, who annexed it to the Duchy of Lancaster. 1 According to 
one account 2 it was again granted out by the Crown to the Duke of 
Buckingham in 1483, but it is doubtful whether this grant, if genuine, 
ever took effect ; if it did the manor reverted, on the Duke's execution, 
to the Crown and to the Duchy of Lancaster, with the estates of which 
it remained thereafter. A fine series 3 of Court Rolls, dating from so 
early as the reign of Henry III, has faithfully followed these wanderings 
and is now among the Records of the Duchy of Lancaster at the Public 
Record Office. Unfortunately for English local history private muni- 
ments have not always been handed over, when an estate was transferred, 
so punctiliously or carefully as in the case of these Court Rolls ; as 
may indeed be seen in the parallel series of Ministers' Accounts, showing 
the administrative side of the same manor, which survive only from the 
reign of Richard II, 4 and in the even worse fate which appears to have 
befallen the deeds. 

again to the charge and superintendence of the Master of the Rolls by the Record Office 
Act of 1838. They have now been classed as Archives of the Exchequer (First Fruits 
and Tenths Division), but one class of them continued in existence after the Act of 
1838 (the Bishops Certificates of Institutions and Benefices) and these properly belong 
to the Archives of the Commissioners. See below (p. 97) Part II, § 6 (/), the remarks on 
Arrangement : Chief Principle. 

1 Cp. Sir W. Hardy, Charters of the Duchy of Lancaster (1845), pp. 179 and 182. 

2 Dugdale, Baronage, vol. i, p. 169 ; quoted by G. E. C, Complete Peerage (old 
and new editions). Dugdale 's statement, however, rests on a sign manual of Richard III, 
which he saw ' in Castro de Stafford ', and, as in the case of a like document already 
cited (above, Part I, § 2 (/)), there is no Public Record to sustain it. For the descent 
of the Manor see P. Morant, History of Essex, vol. ii (Chelmsford, 1816), p. 455. 

3 It runs from 33 Henry III {Court Rolls 62/750) to 181 5 {ibid. 77/975) with com- 
paratively few gaps. Another well-known and fine series is that of the Tooting Court 
Rolls, now in the possession of the London County Council, which also date from the 
thirteenth century. 

4 Duchy of Lancaster, Ministers'' Accounts, bundles 42 to 52 and 58 to 72. 


(c) Where the function ceases but the Administration goes on. 
So far there is little difficulty ; but this does not exhaust the 
possibilities of the case. Let us now suppose that the branch 
of work to which a certain class of Archives is attached ceases 
altogether but that other functions of the same office continue. 
Thus the Court of Common Pleas, which we saw handing over 
its functions and Archives to the Supreme Court of Judicature, 
had anciently a method whereby the transference of land from 
one private person to another could be made a matter of record 
in the Archives of the Court — the process known as levying a 
fine, after a fictitious action in the Court — and a corresponding 
Archive class of Feet of Fines. 1 This process, and these Archives, 
were stopped by Act of Parliament in 1 834, the other functions 
of the Court of Common Pleas continuing. Here, however, 
there is again no difficulty. The Head of the Court and his 
successors continue to hold, as part of their official heritage, 
these obsolete Archives, the position of which as historical, and 
indeed as legal, evidence is not impaired by the fact that the 
Office of Cheirographer, and other offices formerly connected 
with the process, have ceased to exist. 

(d) Where both Administration and Function cease. But now 
let us suppose that the whole of the functions of an Archive- 
owning and Archive-making Office cease simultaneously. In 
this case one of two things may happen. Either the head of 
the expiring office as a part, duly authenticated, pf his official 
* winding-up < may transfer his Archives to the custody of 
some other Archive-keeping official. He may do this under 
instruction or upon his own initiative. Examples of Archives 
so transferred are furnished by the case of Copyright Records 
transferred to the Public Record Office when the Act of 191 1 
brought the old Copyright Administration to a close ; and 

1 The existing class of these Feet dates from Henry II to William IV. The Record 
consisted of an indenture in triplicate of which the Court and the two parties preserved 
each one part. An interesting example of the transmigrations of private muniments is 
furnished by one or two cases where the muniments of the two parties having for some 
reason come into the hands of the Crown the Record Office is enabled to put together 
again the three parts : one instance is reproduced in facsimile in Johnson and Jenkinson, 
Court Hand Illustrated, Part II, plate XVII (b). 


again, in a still more remarkable degree, by the deposit in the 
same office of the Archives of an ancient Inn of Court (a private 
institution) — those of Serjeants' Inn, abolished in 1883. In 
these cases the Archives pass to a fresh stage of their history in 
new surroundings and with new connexions ; still, however, 
without any real break in the continuity of their custody, the 
Master of the Rolls being the Official Trustee, as it were, of 
an unlimited number of dead Administrations, statutory heir 
to their Archive-preserving functions. 

Alternatively, as is the fortune of many manorial and other 
real property Archives in England in these days of extinction 
of manors and the disuse of ' long title ' to land, such Archives 
may lie, so to speak, where they have been left and await 
what fortune has in store for them. In such a case there will 
soon come a break in the continuity of their Archive history 
which no subsequent care in preservation can altogether bridge. 
The question of the fate of private Archives placed in such a 
predicament is discussed below. 

(e) Mixed Cases. It is to be noticed that any two or more 
of these adventures may befall a single Archive or set of 
Archives at different stages in its transmission. This will occur 
particularly when an Archive preserved originally in one con- 
nexion is later made to serve a different Archive purpose. 

Thus a Cartulary of the Abbey of Ramsey, 1 after serving its original 
purpose for two centuries, passed at the Dissolution into the hands of 
the Cromwell Family, who obtained a portion of the Abbey lands ; 
it was later produced in evidence in a case in the Court of Exchequer 
and remained afterwards among the Archives of that Court ; and it 
has now been transferred, with other Archives of the same Court, to 
the custody of the Master of the Rolls. 2 A similar cartulary of the 
Abbey of Chertsey is less fortunate and its present archive quality 
must be held to date only from 1653 when it came to the Exchequer 
through Sir Henry Spiller, who had recovered it from the hands of 
1 Mrs. Coggs of Egham,' who almost certainly had no title to it. 3 Cases 
of change of custody of this kind are particularly common where an 

1 Printed in the series of Chronicles and Memorials : see the Introduction to that 
edition, p. vii. 

2 K. R. Misc. Books, No. 28 : the Chertsey Cartulary is No. 25 in the same 

3 Surrey Record Society, Chertsey Cartulary (London, 1915), p. vi. 


Archive at a more or less late stage of its career is used as a voucher 
to a Public account x or an exhibit in a suit : and we have also the contrary 
case where what should have been Public Archives come down to us in 
private collections, 2 but still with a certain Archive quality. Yet 
another survivor from the dissolution of the Monasteries, the Cartulary 
of Pershore Abbey, 3 owes its present position to a different chain of 
adventures : it was bought in Fleet Street in 1598 by one William Bell, 
who has appended a note describing the transaction ; and was subsequently 
deposited by Fulk Greville with William Mynterne, Keeper of the Records 
at the Augmentation Office, becoming a Public Record as from June 20th, 
1620 : of the transitions from its original owners to Bell and from Bell to 
Greville nothing is known. 

(f) Custody : what is a Responsible Person ? We have seen 
that the original custodian of Archives is some person connected 
with the Administration which produced them : we have seen 
also that the administrative functions and the Archives may 
be transferred to a totally different administrative authority 
without the Archives losing their character ; nay, the functions 
may lapse and the Archives be taken over by some person or 
office totally unconnected with them and yet the chain of 
custody remain unbroken. 

A final example shows all these processes occurring, that of the African 
Company : 4 in this case the Archives of the first Company (incorporated 
1662) passed to the second Company (incorporated 1672), whose 
collections passed in turn to a third with a quite different constitution 
(incorporated 1750) : upon the abolition of this last Company by Act 
of Parliament in 1820 its Archives passed to the Treasury : and they 
are now in the Public Record Office with the Archives of that Depart- 

1 Cp. an Exchequer Case noted in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, 2nd series, 
vol. xxvi, p. 36. The class of Exchequer Accounts (K. R.) in the Public Record Office is 
full of such examples. 

2 The quality of many of the great collections of State Papers not in the Public 
Record Office to which the Historical MSS. Commission's Reports introduce us is 
of course that of private Archives : such are the Cecil Papers still at Hatfield House, 
the Collections of the Duke of Leeds (mentioned in another connexion below (p. 118) Part 
II, § 6 (y)), the Elizabethan Musters so frequently found amongst Private Muniments 
(e. g. those in the Losely MSS. printed by the Surrey Record Society), and many 

3 Now Augmentation Office, Miscellaneous Books, 61 : see again as to this book, 
below (p. 120) Part II, § 6 (#). 

4 For a note on the Archives of this Company see Transactions of the Royal Historical 
Society, 3rd series, vol. vi, pp. 185 et seqq. 


The question naturally suggests itself, what is the criterion 
of custody ? It would seem that the custody of any given 
person or official must not cease without his expressly handing 
over his functions as Archive-keeper to some other responsible 
person. But this merely leaves us the task of denning a 
' responsible person '. 

It is at this point that, for Archive purposes, we must part 
company with the legal definition of custody. 1 The matter is 
one for a separate section, but an example may make clearer 
what is the exact point to be discussed. The writer was recently 
confronted with the case where a Public Librarian had, for the 
safety of the document, accepted custody of an old Parish 
Register. Now although from a legal point of view this Archive 
would certainly have lost evidential value in passing from the 
custody of its proper guardian, the Rector of the parish, was 
it not arguable, historically speaking, that if the book had been 
handed over upon an undertaking that certain forms of custody 
should be observed its archive quality might be reasonably 
assumed to be intact ? In point of fact in the particular case 
instanced the book proved to have been, amongst other 
adventures, through at least one Sale Room and the question 
of continuous custody could no longer arise. But in other 
cases it might — and does — arise, and it will be well for us to be 
prepared with an answer. 

§ 3. What is an Archivist ? 

Note to 1937 Edition 

The text of this Section has been left as it was published 

in IQ22 as an illustration of the development in English 

Archive Administration described in the Preface to the 

present Edition. 

Here, put baldly, is the real point at issue. So far we have 
classed as an Archivist (by the terms of our definition of 

1 See above, Part I, § 2 (/). 


Archives) either the person who takes over, by himself or his 
deputy, as part of the legitimate inheritance of an office he 
fulfils the written memorials of its activities in the past, or, as 
in the case of an official of the Public Record Office, a person 
charged with the duty of receiving from the functionaries of 
(sometimes) expiring other institutions the inheritance for 
which there will be no direct heir, a kind of Public Trustee. 
The question now arises — supposing there is neither heir nor 
any one willing to take the first step of depositing, can the 
Public Archivist go out of his way and intervene uninvited to 
save the life and character of the Archives ? More important 
still, since the official Archivist has very generally his hands 
full, can any public body, not being an official receiver of 
other people's Archives, constitute itself an Archivist ad hoc ? 
And, if so, upon what conditions ? 

There are numerous and valuable classes of Archive 
collection in England, and no doubt elsewhere, in the case of 
which such action would undoubtedly be desirable, but it will 
be sufficient to take one as an example. Owing to the modern 
legislation * by which only proof of ' short title ' is now required 
in the transference of real property, collections of old deeds 
formerly preserved for a practical legal purpose (that of showing 
title) have ceased to have any raison d'etre save an historical 
one. The result is that they are perishing daily in the lumber 
rooms of solicitors and the like places ; or, dragged out of those 
doubtful refuges, are being dismembered, sold (whether to the 
antique dealer or the glue merchant or the Museum) and 
dispersed. Merely to save Archives so important for local 
history by offering them an asylum is a work of piety and 
usefulness ; but the question may also be raised whether they 
(and, consequently, any other collections of unwanted Archives 
which may be found anywhere in a similar plight) can be 
preserved with full status as Archives. 

We make no apology for emphasizing this most important 
point. Here is no question of legal transfer as in the case of the 
Common Pleas Records instanced above ; no question of the last 

1 The Conveyancing Act of 37, 38 Victoria. 


official of a vanishing Administration deliberately handing over 
custody (as in the case of the Copyright Records already cited) 
to a competent authority, i.e. to one already functioning as an 
Archive-keeper. It is the case of the Archivist making the first 
move, intervening in order to preserve : or even of a suitable 
public body constituting itself an Archivist for the purposes of 
the case. 

It is the undoubted duty of the Official Custodian of 
Archives which regularly accrue 1 to remind the depositing 
Administration of his existence from time to time and to offer 
any useful suggestions. 2 The question is — can we also lay it down 
that a Public Authority not primarily concerned with the 
keeping of any Archives save its own may declare itself a 
responsible custodian prepared to take over such archives as 
those referred to above and not merely to keep them safe but to 
give them continuous custody ? Such a course may obviously be 
most desirable, and it seems to the present writer equally 
obvious that such an authority may perfectly well take it under 
certain conditions, conditions which will ensure the continuance 
of such a measure of custody as would have been the portion 
of the Archives had they been and remained intensely important 
for the practical purposes of administration. 

Let us put down, then, here the conditions which would 
make a collection of private deeds or papers taken over by 
(say) a Public Library as safe physically and as secure in their 
reputation for impartiality and authenticity as the Muniments 
of the Crown, preserved once in the Treasury of the Receipt of 
the Exchequer at Westminster and now in the Public Record 
Office in Chancery Lane. 

( i ) There must be reasonable probability of the Authority's 
own continued existence. Thus a Borough Library or a County 
Muniment Room is a stable thing : it is hardly conceivable that 
such Authority should come to a sudden end, without at least 
handing over its functions to a regular successor. 

1 e. g. the Records of the Supreme Court which are deposited at regular intervals 
at the Public Record Office. 
* See below, Part IV, § 13. 


(2) The Archives must be taken over direct from the original 
owner or his official heir or representative. 

(3) The authority taking over must be prepared to subscribe 
to the ordinary rules of Archive management directed to the 
preservation of Archive character. What these are in the matter 
of safety, custody, and methods of arrangement we have tried 
to indicate in §§ 5 and 6 of this part of the present work ; but 
we may notice one in particular here. 

(4) In all cases, then, the Authority taking over must 
be prepared to take over en bloc : there must be no selecting 
of ' pretty ' specimens. 

It is not to be said, of course, that short of these conditions 
no one may house and preserve documents which would other- 
wise be derelict ; but it seems clear that, with them, all con- 
ditions of Archive value may be preserved so far as concerns 
the Research worker. A good example of the preservation of 
private collections in some such way as the above is furnished 
by the case of the Watt Papers now in the Birmingham Free 
Library. These do not entirely fulfil our conditions, for they 
were purchased by a private owner when the works closed down 
about 1893, though up to then custody had been continuous ; 
and only acquired by the Library in 191 1 . They have, however, 
been preserved from dispersal. In many counties also the 
voluntary effort of Local Authorities * or Local Societies is 
doing something to rescue private muniments from destruction 
if not always from the loss of their Archive characteristics. 
If the present note does anything to increase such activities it 
will have been useful. 

§ 4. Archives and Museums 

The rule as to taking over en bloc will, it may be feared, be 
one that rules out Museums in many cases. The British Museum, 
for example, has a collection of Administrative documents 

1 See above in the Preface description of the increase, since this passage was written, 
in the number of Local Authorities making provision for the preservation of Archives 
other than those statutorily in their custody. 


which is formed out of the wreck of hundreds of earlier sets of 
muniments : an interesting, valuable, and beautiful accumula- 
tion * which is, of course, admirably selected and most carefully 
conserved. No Archivist could wish (it is almost superfluous 
to say) for better guardianship or custody than these documents 
receive. At the same time no Archivist, even in the cases where 
these documents have been taken over direct from the original 
owners 2 and custody has consequently been preserved un- 
broken, could possibly allow full Archive value to documents 
which have been violently torn from the connexion in which 
they were originally preserved, a connexion which in nine cases 
out of ten is important, if not vital, for the full understanding 
of their significance. 

Museums are naturally restricted to preserving Museum 
specimens and it may be questioned, therefore, whether an 
ideal arrangement would not be one by which they took over 
only isolated specimens whose connexions were already lost, 
leaving the Archivist to deal with all more or less intact col- 
lections. 3 There can be no doubt that the latter should not, if 
he can help it, take in, by way of gift or otherwise, documents 
which have not an Archive quality, saving where they are 
strays which fill gaps in existing series and can be preserved 
accordingly, with a suitable distinguishing mark,* in company 
with the others to which they historically belong. Thus the 

1 For a general summary of this collection and an explanation of its existence 
see Sir Frederick Kenyon's note in the Royal Commission on Public Records, First 
Report, vol. ii (1910), pp. 25, 26. 

2 In many cases, of course, they have been obtained through the Sale Room. If 
an Archivist may venture to offer a suggestion to Museums in general, it would be well 
if, in their Catalogues, they informed students in every case of the provenance of the 
documents described. 

3 At the time this passage was written I referred to a correspondence in The Times 
(August 20 and August 23, 1921). Since then the situation has been materially affected 
by the great development already mentioned of Local Repositories which are prepared 
to offer a home to private Collections in danger of dispersal. There is good reason to 
hope that co-operation between these Repositories and the great Museums may do much 
to solve the problem upon sound lines. 

4 At the Public Record Office such recovered strays are stamped with a special 
inscription ' some time out of custody '. 


deposit of the Rodney Papers and the Chatham MSS. 1 at the 
Public Record Office may be justified on the grounds of Archive 
quality, though in view of the character, strictly relating to 
Public Administration, of the other Archives preserved there, 
the policy is perhaps doubtful. There can be no reasonable 
ground for the gift 2 of a single Saxon charter being made to 
that office instead of to the British Museum. 3 

We cannot close this section without a word as to the 
foreign practice in regard to the matter of which we have been 
speaking. We have already indicated that one of the main 
distinctions between English and foreign Archive practice lies 
in the emphasizing of Custody in this country ; and have given 
reasons for thinking that this emphasis is by no means undue. 4 
We are bound therefore to note here that the practice of French, 
and still more of Belgian, Archivists in the matter of the 
reception into their Archives of documents of both public and 
private nature from all kinds of sources goes quite contrary to 
our doctrine. Not content with receiving deposits of private 
Archives from their original owners (which, as we have sug- 
gested, may be a very desirable course under certain conditions) , 
the Belgian authorities apparently buy isolated specimens on 
a large scale : their Archives, in fact, represent a kind of com- 
bination of the British Museum Manuscripts and the Public 
Record Office Archives. No doubt the accession numbers 
given to all such accroissements distinguish them adequately, for 
those who like to probe deeply enough into the Official Reports, 
from the genuine Archives ; but we cannot help regretting that 
an Archive Service which is regarded as one of the first in the 
world should in this matter deviate from one of the chief 
principles laid down in the Manuel — that for the Archivist, 
Archive interests should be primary and Historical ones 

1 The first were deposited by Mr. Harley Rodney in 1906 ; the second by Admiral 
Pringle in 1888. 

2 There is one such in the ' Miscellaneous ' section of the Deposited Documents. 

3 For an early example of a private Archive deposited in a Public Record Office see 
the case of the Pershore Abbey Cartulary, quoted above, Part II, § 2 (e). 

4 Above, Part I, § 2 (/). 


secondary. For with all respect to the eminent authorities of 
the Belgian Archives, we cannot think that a stray paper from 
some dispersed family collection, itself picked up in a sale, is a 
fit inmate for a National Archive Establishment. 1 

§ 5. The Primary Duties of an Archivist : (i) Physical Defence 

of Archives 

In dealing with these we must premise that we are con- 
cerned with the Archivist at present only as a person owing 
service to the past and to the memorials of the past. What, 
if any, should be his relations to Administrators now engaged 
in compiling the Archives of the future or to those who may 
come after them is a question we shall have to put and answer 
later. Up to now we are concerned with his duties to the more 
or less formed collections of Archives that he has already taken 
over. These duties, it may be recalled, we have already 2 
divided into Primary and Secondary : the first being his duties 
towards the Archives themselves ; the second (to be considered 
only when the first have been satisfactorily discharged) his 
duties in the matter of publication and generally making 
available for use by students. The subject being somewhat long 
we propose to treat these two varieties of duty under separate 
sections, and moreover to divide the first again into two parts. 
In effect it is obvious that duties to the Archives themselves 
consist in their defence against all kinds of dangers ; but these 
dangers fall into two clearly defined classes, Physical and 
Moral. The present section will accordingly treat of the first 
of these — the Physical ; 3 which are mainly external, i.e. pro- 
ceeding from sources other than the Archivist himself. 

1 See the various sections showing such accessions in Les Archives de VEtat en 
Belgique pendant la guerre, already cited. 

2 Above, Part I, § 5. 

3 The literature of the subject is scattered and not easy to find : in particular a 
bibliography of works on the subject of Library and Repository fittings is a desideratum. 
Much information will be found in the reports of visits by the Royal Commission (19 10) 
to Archive centres (see its First Report, part ii) : see also the Guide International des 
Archives (Paris and Rome, 1935). 

The Library Association collects information on this topic and has recently promoted 


6 There is fower-fould hurte ', said Agarde, 1 writing in 1610 
' that by negligence may bringe wracke to records ; that is to 
say Fier, Water, Rates and Mice, Misplacinge.' The summary 
is not, perhaps, quite complete from a modern point of view, 
but may serve as a text to our notes on the physical dangers 
against which Archives are to be defended. 

(a) The Repository. From the point of view of safety from fire 
and damp the Archivist, if he has the supervision of construction, 
should have, with the modern resources of asbestos, steel, stone, 
and concrete 2 at his disposal, little difficulty. The chief 
danger in fact is not lest the building itself, in such a case, 
should catch fire or suffer from damp but lest neighbouring 
buildings should catch fire and by their collapse, by flying 
fragments of flaming material, by the mere heat generated in 
their burning, or by the water poured in to save them, damage 
the Repository or its contents. It is easy, in fact, to specify for 
a fire-proof and damp-proof building, and the Archivist's chief 
trouble will probably be to secure that the Repository shall be 
sufficiently isolated from other buildings. At the same time 
no precautions in the way of fire-fighting 3 apparatus, fire 
alarms, direct telephonic communication with the Fire Brigade, 
and a regular Fire Drill for the staff should be omitted. 

It seems proper to add here some remarks on protection 
against attack from the air in war-time : but the current view 
is that little short of deep subterranean storage would be of 
any use : 4 and the Archivist, if he is to guard against calamitous 

an elaborate investigation in all Library Centres of importance : publication of a sum- 
mary of its results should be extremely valuable. 

1 Sir F. Palgrave, Antient Calendars and Inventories . . . (1836), II, p. 313. 

2 Steel, glass and the like may serve also for a considerable part of modern library 
fittings : though some (including the present writer) are prejudiced in favour of hard 
wood for shelving (not for the uprights of presses) on account of its greater kindliness 
and freedom from the tendency to condensation and rust. 

3 It should be noted that there is great potential danger to documents from 
Extincteurs discharging, or leaving a residue of, acid. There is, however, a pattern 
which discharges only water, and is actuated by compressed air. 

4 This remark applies to heavy high-explosive bombs. It is understood that 
incendiary bombs are, and are likely to remain, of small size and that stout roofs and 
walls should prevent their penetrating to the interior of the building ; though it would 
be necessary to protect windows. 


possibilities of this kind, will probably do best to concentrate 
on plans for evacuating when necessary part or all of his 
collections to places off the presumed lines of attack. 

Heating is best supplied by ducts carrying air which has 
been passed over heated vanes or water-pipes. Engine rooms 
should be outside the Repository buildings, and water-pipes, if 
possible, below ground level and certainly not led through any 
part of the Repository from which a leakage could conceivably 
reach the documents : the danger to documents from water, 
it may be added, is normally much greater (under modern 
conditions) than the danger from either cold or fire. Electric 
wiring for heat or lighting must be properly fused ; the wires 
should be in jointless steel pipes fixed outside the walls ; and 
the pipes should themselves be earthed to a water main. 
There should be control switches external to any Repository 
door for lighting or power points within. 

Unauthorized Entry will be provided against if possible by an 
efficient system of patrolling during off hours and in any case by 
a very carefully devised system for the custody of keys ; none of 
which, saving external ones (and those only in the custody of 
selected officials), should be allowed to go outside the building. 
At least one person officially connected with the Archives 
should always be within reach in case of an emergency. 1 

If the Archivist has not the supervision of construction and 
must utilize an old building, he must endeavour to incorporate 
as many of the above features as possible and increase, if possible, 
all precautions and supervision. He should clearly, in such 
circumstances, pay particular attention to the question of the 
accessibility of his more important archives, to schemes for 
evacuation in case of need (having special regard to windows 
which can be opened easily, widely and outwards), and to the 

1 It follows that in the case of a large Repository there should be an official residence 
annexed to, though separate from, the Repository. The policy of separating all staff 
quarters from the Repository is a good one because it renders unnecessary certain 
restrictions upon the staff in the matter of fires, &c. Except for this reason I am not 
disposed to consider it so essential as do some authorities ; and it is not always com- 
patible with convenience in working. 


ready availability, for those responsible, of information as to the 
whereabouts of particular classes of Archives. 

(b) The Repository (continued). Of other considerations in 
the planning of Repositories perhaps the most important is that 
of Air, which is the best of all preservatives of parchment and 
paper. If it is absolutely necessary even consideration of 
Cleanliness must come second. The natural conclusion is 
that where circumstances permit a ' conditioning ' plant for air 
should be installed. If this is not done (and there is more than 
one objection to the scheme x ) it should be made possible to 
secure at will circulation of the air in all directions. 2 

Light is also valuable, though it is not wise to expose docu- 
ments too much to the direct rays of the sun because of their 
possible effect in * fading ' the ink or warping the parchment or 
paper. Too much sunlight is also definitely harmful to leather. 

Cleaning space should always be left on every floor into 
which documents can be removed while their place is being 
cleaned, painted, and so forth, and no large collection should 
be without the installation of a vacuum cleaner, with brush 
attachment, for the cleansing of the parcels, &c, themselves. 
The best system of cleaning for a large Repository is one of 
regular rotation by which one space on each floor is always 
empty and in process of being cleaned. 

Convenience in working should be consulted by the provision, 
first, of easy means of communication between all parts of 
the building ; second, of a space (capable of being locked up) 
reserved for reception, sortation, stamping and numbering ; 
third, of lifts, in the case of large buildings, placed centrally 
and capable of accommodating a man and a barrow (a lock-up 
Lift-Room at top and bottom is also a desirable feature) ; and 
fourth, of accommodation for students in a like central position. 

1 With diffidence (because much scientific opinion is against me) I venture to observe 
that we have as yet no proof that conditioning air, while it certainly removes elements of 
danger, does not also remove some elements of positive value. 

2 For some description of recent experiments in regard to Air Circulation and the 
prevention of mildew in English Repositories see Appendix IV. The questions of 

racking and make-up are of course affected: see below pp. 49, seq. 


All these things make for a decrease in the handling and a 
consequent increase in the safety of documents. 

(c) The Repository : provision of accommodation for students. 
Since this subject has been mentioned, it may be worth while to 
mention one or two notable requirements. Natural light should 
come, in large quantities, from the left of the reader (so that no 
shadow is cast by his writing hand) : failing individual tables 
the ideal would probably be a room having one side almost 
entirely of windows, from which long narrow tables (with the 
students' chairs on one side only) should project not quite at 
right angles, so that every one sat slightly in advance of his left- 
hand neighbour. Overhead lighting is not desirable x if good 
side-lighting can be obtained. It is important that handling 
and rubbing of documents should be minimized, and therefore 
stands for volumes (and, if possible, special stands for rolls and 
other particular forms of documents) should be provided and 
their use made obligatory. Artificial light should take the form 
of shaded electric lights which can be lowered to within a few 
inches of the documents. Shelves for Indexes and Reference 
Books 2 are as obvious a provision as tables and chairs. Other 
arrangements with regard to the use of Archives by the public 
are mentioned below. 

(d) The Repository : General Plan. We discuss below the 
question of shelving, but so far as the actual building is con- 
cerned there is no doubt that the most economical plan is, as a 
rule, the stack system. By this the space wasted on corridors 
and party walls is saved, the divisions of the Repository being 
by floors only. These, however, whether they are iron stages 
in a single lofty hall or room, or actual ceilings and floors, 

1 For Photography on the contrary, and for Repair Work, overhead lighting of the 
right kind is highly desirable. A roof of the ' weaving shed ' pattern is recommended — 
a series of angular glass roofs with sides of unequal dimensions ; the larger side in each 
case having, if possible, a North exposure. This means that in planning a new Repository 
the Archivist should reserve his top floor for Repairs and Photography. For the latter 
he would naturally provide also all kinds of electrical installations (see paragraph (n) of 
this section). 

2 A sketch of an Archivist's Minimum Bibliography is given in Appendix II ; and 
the Archivist's Library will presumably be at the disposal of the Student : but a certain 
quantity of reference books, constantly needed, must be kept in the Students' Room. 


should not be far apart : it is undesirable to have shelves out of 
easy reach ; because this may lead to the damaging of documents, 
especially heavy ones, when they are being taken out from 
a top shelf. Eight feet from floor to ceiling is a good standard. 

One thing which militates against the stack system should 
not be forgotten : that is the possibility that a system of rooms 
or cells, with stout party walls, might suffer less from a bomb. 
On the whole authorities, after inclining for a while against 
this view, seem now to be in favour of it : though they emphasize 
the fact that some vent to any enclosed strong room would be 
necessary in order to prevent damage to the general structure 
of the building from the pressure of gases generated in the 
confined space. It should also be remembered that if hasty 
evacuation of part only of a Repository becomes necessary a 
system of packing in Rooms will facilitate it. One authority l 
advocates a combination of the two systems for this reason. 

The question, of course, arises only in the case of large 

(e) The Repository : Internal Fitting and Packing. Regretfully, 
since this book was first written, I have come to the conclusion 
that in most cases the combined necessity for air circulation, 2 
for a standard size in shelving and for easy handling by persons 
who may not be very skilled or very careful 3 is against the 
system of presses running out on rails into a central gangway 
when their contents are required ; and is, moreover, against 
very close packing. After some years of experiment in large 
Repositories full of parcels, boxes and volumes of varying sizes, 
shapes and kinds, I have been led to the uncomfortable con- 
clusion that one cannot hope to fill half the available cubic 
space with racking : and that in many cases the cubic space of 
the racking itself, when packed, will also not be half filled : 
actually I know a number of well-packed rooms where not 
more than one-fifth of the total cubic space is occupied by 

1 The present Archiviste General at Brussels, M. Brouwers. 

2 See Appendix IV. 

3 In a small Repository where the Archivist will do his own ' producing ' of docu- 
ments these considerations would of course be modified. 


documents. In small Repositories, where the depth of shelves 
could be individually adapted to the documents to be housed 
this proportion could be considerably increased : but in any 
case the Archivist should be warned against hoping too much 
from the amount of space he has available for racking and from 
the amount of racking he has available for filling. 

The best alternative to a moveable-rack system will be one 
in which the walls may be lined with shelves in the old- 
fashioned way if space allows, but the bulk of the room-space 
will be filled with rectangular islands of double shelves back to 
back ; the islands being parallel to each other and separated 
by passages of a suitable width ; and a cross passage at one end 
(if possible one at each end) giving communication from one 
passage to another. Unless the dimensions of the room are 
specially designed beforehand in view of proposed racking of a 
given depth, the details of arrangement cannot be made subject 
to a fixed rule. But in general one may say that given a room 
with windows on one side and a door facing them the presses 
should be at right-angles to these walls ; that each of the 
passages between them should start from a window ; and that 
the door should open straight on to one of the passages. The 
width of these passages should be not much less than three feet, 
to allow space for a man with a truck and to leave room for the 
pulling out of large packages from the shelves. 1 The staircase 
to an upper floor is generally best placed against a wall : it 
should be straight, not much less than three feet in width and 
having treads of about nine inches and rises of seven. Mezzanine 
floors should if possible be of grating form to allow of vertical 
movement of air. Lighting should be in trough reflectors fixed 
to the ceiling (or the underside of a mezzanine floor) and angled 
to light the shelves from top to bottom. 

For the general construction of the racking (uprights, 
connecting pieces and shelf bearers) there seems to be, until 
stainless steel becomes cheaper, no alternative to painted steel 
or iron : the ends and backs of the presses being of some form 

1 Abnormally deep shelving would of course require correspondingly broadened 


of sheeting pierced with holes * for ventilation. The choice of 
material and form for the shelves is another matter and as it is 
affected by more than one consideration I have made it the 
subject of an Appendix : 2 here we need only add that for the 
convenience of interchangeability a standard span (three feet) 
and depth (fourteen inches 3 ) are suggested, at least in the case 
of a large Repository. 

(/) The Make-up of Documents, We reach at this point a 
subject one side of which (the arrangement of documents from 
the point of view of packing convenience) remains to be dis- 
cussed below under the heading of Arrangement and Classification. 
But there are certain simple facts which may be stated here. 
The chief difficulty lies in reconciling the necessity of letting in 
air with the necessity (in such places as London, particularly) 
of keeping out dirt in the form of dust. Different shapes and 
forms of documents lend themselves to a greater or less degree 
to boxing and enveloping and in some instances it may be 
necessary to choose between cleanliness and air, in which case 
air must have the first place. As a rule, however, it is possible 
to meet both : giving at the same time due consideration to a 
third very important matter — ease in production, possibly by 
unskilled hands. 

Since this book was first written a good deal of further 
experiment has been made : but while I think this justifies the 
re-writing of the present section at some length so as to include 
detailed description of certain types of make-up which have 
been proved to be reasonably efficient, I would add that fresh 
experience has strengthened my conviction that this subject 
can never be treated definitely, because new materials and 
forms continue and will continue to appear and because the 

1 Care must be taken that it is not scratchy. 

2 Appendix III (a). For convenience I have added also specifications for a form of 
general service racking which has proved convenient in practice : and for racks to take 
outsize documents and very long rolls (see below division (/) of this section) : the use of 
the latter would, of course, mean some modification in the planning of a room into which 
they were to be introduced. 

3 This means of course that a double press with the back taken out will give us 28 in. 
shelving for outsize packages. 


number of special cases which require ad hoc treatment will 
always be considerable. It is possible, however, to prescribe 
certain common forms which (perhaps with variation of the 
materials used) should continue to be adequate for a vast 
number of ordinary cases and should serve also as basis for the 
devising of ad hoc arrangements for abnormals. The four 
principal types of documents to be treated are Rolls, Outsize 
Documents of all kinds, Loose Documents (falling into several sub- 
divisions) and Volumes. The chief general considerations to be 
borne in mind (apart from the questions of air and cleanliness) 
are first that while folding in one direction may in some cases 
do little harm to paper or parchment a second folding across 
the line of the first must ultimately cause deterioration, even if 
the document is never used ; secondly that the Archivist's chief 
problem is generally bulk — he cannot give his documents that 
individual treatment which he would like to give them and 
which they would receive if they were a handful of specimens 
in a small Museum ; thirdly that if individual documents out 
of a number kept in a single receptacle are to be taken out for 
' production ' to Students then the larger the receptacle, and 
the larger the number of its contents, the greater the risk of 
carelessness (leading to damage or misplacement) by the mem- 
ber of the Staff who ' produces ' ; x and finally that if the whole 
box is to be ' produced ' in the Students' Room then again the 
larger the number of individual documents thus given out 
together the greater will be the difficulties of preventing care- 
lessness or malpractice on the part of the Students. 

Before going on to deal with particular types of document 
we may add here some remarks about a kind of receptacle 
which we shall have occasion to recommend in more than one 
connexion — the light box. 

The chief considerations which operate in the choice of 
material for this are that it should be strong and light, free from 
acid content which might have an ill effect on the documents 
placed in it, and capable of bending up on a scored line to make 

1 Experience since this book was first written has led to an increased emphasis on this 
importance of a small type of receptacle. 


joints which will be both better and cheaper than the artificial 
joint of two pieces fastened together at an angle. The material 
which at the time of writing is the best known from these points 
of view is that called in England ' leatherboard ' ; 1 and a 
specification for boxes made of this is given in Appendix III (b). 
The great advantage of this pattern is that the boxes (which 
should not be more than five inches in depth 2 ) , being rectangular 
in section, pack well on their edges, 3 resting either on their 
shorter or longer side, and can conveniently be labelled with 
pasted-on numbers on the exposed edge. Note that they should 
always be packed full : 4 the contained documents being thus 
kept in shape by pressure from the lid of the box there is no 
need for tight packing of the boxes on the shelf and indeed a 
few inches of space should always be left on each shelf so that 
the producer can get his fingers on each side of any box he 
wants to pull out. One more general remark : if a quantity of 
documents separately numbered are to be enclosed in a single 
box that quantity should if possible be a multiple of five or ten. 
Rolls (i.e. true Rolls, consisting of sheets of paper or parch- 
ment fastened head to tail) may be mounted at one end on a 
' guard ' of fine unbleached linen. 5 This linen is then pasted 
round a one-inch cardboard cylinder or wooden roller ; care 
being taken to get it quite true, so that the document will 
automatically roll up straight and tight on to this central core. 
At the other end of the roll a similar linen guard, with a tape, 
will serve as outer cover or the roll may simply be taped round 

1 It is not suggested that this material is ideal : its life, for instance, is probably not 
more than 20 years in some cases. But it is the best cheap material I know. The better 
qualities have a glazed surface. 

8 It is better not to exceed four, which is quite sufficient thickness to be gripped by a 
hand of normal size : the danger is that an impatient ' producer ' may catch hold of the 
lid by its edge in order to pull the box out. It is a good plan to tie or buckle round very 
heavy boxes a piece of broad tape or webbing with a loop in it to pull the box out by. 

3 i. e. the box, when closed, is turned half over and stood on one of what, when it 
was open, would be its vertical walls : it is not normally stored on the flat. 

4 It follows, of course, that the Archivist should keep in stock boxes of varying depth. 
If for any reason a full box is not possible, a tape may be passed through holes in the base 
of the box and the document or documents tied down. 

6 The weave known as aeroplane fabric is very suitable. 


and dropped into a standard pattern leather board box of square 
section ; or, for economy, a number of rolls may be placed in a 
larger box. 

Documents of the Plea Roll type (a number of long mem- 
branes piled one on top of the other and fastened together at 
the head) may be treated in the same way, provided the 
membranes composing it are few. Alternatively they may be 
fastened through guards at their head to one edge of a stiff card 
board half the size of the longest membrane. The opposite edge 
of this card is let into a slit down one side of a small cardboard 
cylinder x and when this contrivance is in position the roll may 
be turned over it and tied, forming a convenient package half 
its natural size without any danger of a crease at the place 
where it is folded. Where the membranes are too numerous for 
either of these methods to be applicable one of the portfolio 
forms described in Appendix III (d) may be adapted to suit. 

Outsize Documents. The presence of individual documents of 
this description among smaller ones — a large map, for instance, 
folded many times in order to be bound into a volume : or a 
large Royal grant, with seal, forming part of a Series the rest of 
which consists of small Deeds — is one of the cases where removal 
of a document from its proper place is justified in the interest of 
its preservation : it must of course be replaced by a dummy to 
explain whither it has been transferred and itself marked with 
a note to shew whence it came. All this, however, does not 
affect the problem of its packing, in regard to which we may 
suggest three main lines of procedure. A document of this kind 
may be folded once or twice in the way described above in 
connexion with Plea Rolls (this is the least desirable way and 
only feasible if the document is comparatively narrow), or it 
may be kept flat, or it may be rolled. 

The limit up to which outsize documents of a normal kind 2 

1 It is best to cover the whole of the board and cylinder thus combined with linen or 
paper pasted on. 

2 A quite abnormal document, such as one at the Public Record Office, among the 
Commonwealth Exchequer Papers, which has about 900 applied seals on it, may of course 
have a special case built for it. 


may be kept flat is that of the size up to which folders for it can 
be made which will be reasonably light and yet rigid enough to 
be pushed on to the shelves of a special rack * such as is 
described in Appendix III (a) : a reasonably practicable 
folder or portfolio to contain as many as ten such documents 2 
can be made of a thin pulp or strawboard as large as 40 inches 
by 30 inches : and this will cover any document without seals 
which normally occurs. 3 

Documents too large for the above may be guarded at each 
end with unbleached linen, or mounted on linen projecting 
beyond the two ends : the surplus linen at one end is then 
wrapped round and pasted to a four-inch strawboard cylinder 
slightly longer than the width of the document, in the manner 
prescribed above for Rolls ; that at the other serves as a cover 
after the document has been rolled up and has tapes attached 
to tie round : it is a good plan to cut the linen at this outer end 
to a breadth several inches greater than the length of the 
cylinder so that the projecting portions of linen, when all is 
rolled up, can be turned over and tucked inside the cylinder. 4 
Loose Documents. Apart from special cases, with which we 
cannot attempt to deal, these may be divided into four principal 
types : 

(i) the completely miscellaneous ; where we have, for 
instance, half a dozen small rolls, ten pieces of parch- 
ment of varying sizes, three original files of small writs, 
and a book ; the whole forming a single unit : 
(ii) documents of the ' Deed ' type — one of the commonest 

of problems for the local Archivist : 
(iii) specially fragile documents — notably those with seals ; 

1 I have discarded, after experiment, the idea of an architect's plan cabinet with 
drawers because to be economical one has normally to put so many documents in a single 
drawer that production becomes a difficult if not dangerous operation. 

2 It is better of course to use one folder for each document : or alternatively each 
may be put in a limp folder of manilla, such as is described in Appendix III (d), and a 
number thus wrapped may be put in the stouter folder or portfolio (ibid.). 

3 Specifications for the manufacture of this, and of a more elaborate board with buckram 
flaps for use with documents having appended Seals, are given in Appendix III (d). 

4 A simple racking for such rolls is described in Appendix III (a). 


(iv) collections of leaves of more or less the same size, and 
that not unreasonably large, such as a series of foolscap 
files from a modern office. Generally speaking this 
type consist of paper documents. 

In regard to (i) we can only recommend in general that the 
documents should be packed in boxes ; that so far as possible 
they should be ' produced ' singly, by their individual (sub-) 
numbers and not by the box ; and that in the interest both of 
packing and production large boxes, taking a considerable 
number of documents, should not be used. It may sometimes be 
found convenient to segregate the different forms within a 
single box, putting all the single flat leaves together : in this 
case it is a good plan to paste in the lid a list of the contents of 
the box shewing the form of each document, so as to facilitate 

In the case of (ii) (parchment Deeds and similar documents) 
there is an accepted method which has stood the test of time — 
the use of square flapless envelopes of cartridge, manilla or linen- 
backed paper ; each envelope and the document contained in 
it being numbered and a suitable quantity of them standing, 
like the cards in a card-index, in a box constructed to fit them. 
Many deeds have to be folded for this form of packing but no 
harm will be done if the folds are made in the same direction 
and not heavily creased : and seals, if appended, may be 
turned back so as to pack between the folds. This system makes 
the ' production ' of individuals easy even if fifty or more are 
stored in one box ; and if they are not packed too tightly (not 
more than three-quarters of capacity is a good rule x ) it will be 
found that by expansion they automatically keep themselves 
from shifting and prevent pressure on the seals 2 which occur 
so frequently on this type of document. Where the seals are 
particularly fragile a shallow square cardboard box of the same 
size may be substituted for the envelope. 3 

1 i. e. not more than three-quarters of the box is filled when the documents in their 
envelopes are squeezed tightly together. 

2 Appended seals, if the document is folded, may be turned over so as to lie between 
the folds. 

3 This without prejudice to other methods suggested for the protection of seals. 


The only question is — what size shall the envelope be ? In 
view of the enormous increase in the size of later deeds some 
Archivists favour the use of two or even three series of envelopes 
(and boxes) of different size : if, for convenience, the Archivist 
compromises on a single series of medium size (say 8 inches 
square *) he will find it wise to enclose very small early deeds 
in a doubled leaf of stout paper just small enough to push into 
the envelope. 

(iii) The packing of documents with seals (together with 
the taking of moulds and casts) has been dealt with elsewhere 2 
but a few points may be mentioned. The object of the Archivist 
in regard to seals applied to the face of the document (whatever 
their period and material — whether they are of true wax, 
shellac, or papered wafer) is to prevent pressure or bending. 
In the case of seals appended there is special danger owing to 
their weight and the ease with which they may be accidentally 
knocked : it is also desirable when the seal is large to take the 
weight off the tongue, tag or laces by which it hangs. 

Various methods of meeting these difficulties are described 
in the article mentioned : a pad or wrapping of cotton-wool 
in waxed tissue or grease-proof paper is nearly always valuable ; 
a cardboard box 3 holding a large appended seal may itself be 
attached to the document, or to a stiffened folder containing 
the document, by a tape slightly shorter than the attachment of 
the seal ; a single document with delicate applied seal (even if 
it be a leaf in a book 4 ) may by a little contrivance be attached 
to a thin sheet of cardboard of the same size, or a smaller piece 
of cardboard may be attached to the back of the document, 5 so 
as to secure the desired rigidity ; a layer of cardboard with a 
hole in it, fastened over or round the seal may obviate pressure ; 

1 For small early deeds 6 inches is generally large enough. 

2 See below, division (w) of this section and articles there cited. 

3 Contemporary ' skippets ' of metal or other material should of course be left in situ 
if possible : but if they are of iron precautions must be taken, by means of wrappings or 
boxes enclosing them, to prevent injury to the document from rust. 

4 In this case the board will have a small hinged piece fastened to the side of the sheet 
next the back. Seals on a Treaty in book form have been successfully treated in this way. 

5 For instance, I have sometimes had a square of thin cardboard, about twice the 
dimensions of an applied seal, fastened to the back of a document. 


and so on. Remain always a number of examples to be treated 
by ad hoc methods. But one device may be mentioned as 
particularly convenient not only for seals but for all kinds of 
delicate small documents — the tray. A series of these, piled one 
on the top of another, give the equivalent of a large box unit ; 
and not only prevent pressure on the documents but also make 
those packed lowest as easily accessible as those at the top. The 
system is perfectly safe, and reasonably inexpensive, if the trays 
are properly made. 1 

(iv) Touching this class of loose documents (which includes 
the vast majority of Archives produced by modern Offices) we 
may premise that their preservation in the ' loose ' state after 
they reach the Archive condition is most undesirable from 
every point of view : to pick out from a really large mass of 
papers the particular document — or more often a large number 
of particular documents — which the student desires to see 
involves a great deal of not unskilled labour ; and on the other 
hand to produce large bundles of loose papers and let the 
student find for himself what he wants is to invite damage and 
misplacement, if not worse. There is no doubt that the proper 
course is to make up documents in units of a tolerable size and 
in a manner which will safeguard the documents against a 
careless or unscrupulous student ; and this means that they 
must be fastened together tightly at more than one place on 
their left edge. The old way of doing this was to bind in volumes; 
the method to be advocated here is that known at the Public 
Record Office 2 as filing, where a pile of documents (including 
material to form a cover) is stabbed vertically with a series of 
holes (generally five, or seven, or two sets of three) in its left 
margin and laced up through these with strong cord. 3 The 
unit thus created, or a number of units, is then stored in a 
suitable box. 

We may here interpolate the remark that the file in the old 

1 A specification is given in Appendix III (c). 

2 The method has three advantages over binding : it is cheaper, it gives better protec- 
tion, and if the papers are found to require re-arrangement a file (unlike a volume) can 
be easily taken to pieces and put together again. 

3 A description of this process in more detail is given in Appendix III (e). 


sense of that word (i. e. a quantity of documents strung together 
on a string or wire passing through a hole in the centre of 
them) not infrequently survives from early times. Often it has 
been broken up : often, too, in the interest of the student (and 
of the documents) it may have to be broken up deliberately ; 
its contents becoming to all intents and purposes ' loose docu- 
ments \ Note that this breaking up should not be done if it 
can be avoided and that most meticulous notes must be made 
of the precise nature of the ' filing ', the holes used, and so 
• forth. 

For either of these operations the documents ought to be 
mounted on guards, 1 for they should not themselves be pierced : 
this adds considerably to the cost of the process but if it is not 
done we shall have to resort (in the case of binding) to the plan 
of whip-stitching single sheets into gatherings for sewing, which 
has many objections, 2 while filing will be impossible unless we 
can be sure that all the leaves have a blank margin of i| inches. 3 

Unfortunately the enormous bulk of modern Archive accu- 
mulations makes it sometimes inevitable that the considerations 
just adduced should go by the board : moreover there are 
cases (where, for instance, fees are to be charged, or where only 
a proportion of a given class of documents is open to inspection) 
in which ' production ' must be either by single documents or by 
small units unsatisfactorily strung together in the Office in which 
they originated. Under such circumstances preservation in the 
loose state becomes unavoidable : and as a pis aller therefore 
we may suggest that the documents, in fives or tens if they are 
all singles, or in any units in which they were strung together in 
their originating office, should be enclosed in manilla folders, 4 

1 For methods of rapid and efficient guarding see Douglas Cockerell, Bookbinding and 
the Care of Books (1901). 

2 For one thing it rules out or should the ' spring back ' type of binding : and even if 
ordinary ' stationery style ' is used experience has shewn that whip-stitched leaves tend 
to break away from the sewing in use. 

3 It may be remarked in passing that the habit of writing in the margin is so ingrained 
in some persons that nothing short of a greased or blackened margin would restrain them : 
moreover many of the papers preserved in any given Office are received from outside 
sources over whose methods the recipient has naturally no control. 

4 A pattern is suggested in Appendix III (d). 


numbered to correspond with their contents ; and that a 
suitable number of folders (fives or tens again, if possible, to 
facilitate c production ') should then be packed in a leather- 
board box. The Archivist who has to accept from time to time 
quantities of papers of this description may save himself much 
trouble if he can persuade the executive branch to adopt a 
method of stringing together related papers through at least 
two holes x on the left side and perhaps even to pack its papers 
itself, sometime before their transfer, in the folders and boxes 
described. He may also safeguard himself if he can secure that 
a list of the numbers alleged to be in each box shall be pasted 
inside the lid. 2 

It will be noted that we have left out of account here all 
forms of parcelling. The fact is that present-day experience 
shews boxes to be as cheap as, or even cheaper than, any 
parcelling material other than paper ; equally lasting ; more 
efficient in protecting the documents ; giving more ready access 
to their contents ; and (being rectangular) easier to pack. 
They also lend themselves better to labelling — a question of 
some importance with which we shall deal below. There is so 
far as we know only one limitation to their use — that of size. 
The Archivist who has the misfortune to be saddled with loose 
flat documents measuring much more than 18 inches in length 
or breadth 3 in quantities such that he cannot deal with them 
in the manner described under Outsize Documents above will 
have to fall back on some form of portfolio having at least one 
stiff side, probably of stout millboard, such as we describe in 
Appendix III (d). He will be wise to subdivide the contents of 
these also (for their own safety and for facility of production) by 
placing fives or tens in manilla folders of similar pattern (but 
heavier material) to those recommended for use inside the boxes. 

1 The practice, common in modern Offices, of ' filing ' papers through a single hole 
in one cover is objectionable not only because a paper may be so easily detached by a 
sharp pull but because single leaves tend to project at all angles from the front of the 
' file ' and become creased and broken. 

1 He should then make a rule that on the first occasion when such a box is opened 
in his own department the list shall be checked through and a note of the fact made on it. 

3 Such, for instance, as the Chancery Proceedings (numbering probably over a million) 
at the Public Record Office. 


Volumes. These fall into two divisions : 

(i) volumes made from a collection of individual docu- 
ments; and 

(ii) true volumes made up of gatherings of folded sheets 
designed for binding, whether the actual binding was done 
before or (a not infrequent occurrence) after the writing. 1 

It will have been observed that we do not favour the first of 
these forms : and though economy may demand that a book of 
this kind, if the sewing is in good condition, should be left as it 
stands, the opportunity should normally be taken, whenever it 
requires repair, to put it into the more suitable ' file ' form : 
though naturally careful record should be kept (including 
specimens of the material) to shew the form in which it was 
previously made up. 2 

The ' true ' volume is in quite another category. Here the 
book form is part of the original Archive character and should 
be carefully preserved : see below the separate notes on Binding. 3 

There is one borderline case. In some instances where a 
number of small books are bound up into a larger volume it 
may be argued that this larger binding is characteristic and 
should be preserved. This is certainly the fact in the instance of 
some limp vellum volumes of annual Accounts preserved by 
the Grocers' Company, a quantity of which were periodically 
' tacketted ' just as they stood, without new sewing or any other 
modification, into a vellum case. On the other hand large 
masses of the Admiralty Logs — made in small limp pro forma 

1 Blank books supplied by the Stationers ready for writing begin to occur as soon as 
paper becomes plentiful — in the latter part of the 15th century. 

An amusing instance of the relation between binder and writer was noted recently in 
the case of a Court Book belonging to the Borough of Dover. The Sewer apparently 
designed this to stand on a shelf : the Clerks used it as a Ledger (i. e. a book which is 
kept in a horizontal position) and had it furnished with a flap and clasps; and since they 
wanted to keep these out of the way on the left, used it upside down. 

2 Even early bindings must generally, in the interest of the documents they contain, 
be treated in this way. Thus, quite early in their history at the State Paper Office, 
quantities of loose papers in the Colonial series were made up, without being guarded, 
into vellum volumes : with the result that sewing at the backs of the leaves, and folding 
at the fore-edge have played havoc with many of them. In repair these are guarded and 
filed, the characteristic vellum sides and back of the casing being filed with them. 

3 Division (/) of this section. 


books of varying sizes — were subsequently made up at the 
Admiralty into larger volumes without any regard to suitability ; 
and have latterly been reduced to their original state and boxed. 
The memory of the Admiralty make-up is preserved in their 
numeration and in portions of the binding material (including 
all stamps and lettering pieces) which are securely made up 
with them in their latest form. 

(g) Handling and damage. A considerable number of dangers 
have to be faced in connexion with the use of Archives by 
students : assuming that the Archivist himself is invariably 
above reproach he yet cannot expect the same carefulness in all 
the students who use Archives. To forbid smoking is an obvious 
precaution. To forbid ink is not so invariably a rule ; x and 
in fact it may be well to defend this regulation by pointing out 
that even fountain-pens and stylographs of the best makes in 
the most careful hands sometimes blot and that one blot may be 
infinitely disastrous. Students are apt to discredit this last 
suggestion and should have their attention directed to the tale 
of Paul-Louis Courier and the MS. of Daphnis and Chloe : it 
would be indiscreet to quote a more modern example. Recent 
experience would induce me to exclude also the purple 
' indelible ' pencil from all use in Archives : if only on account 
of the danger of the dust from its sharpening. The marking of 
Archives with any form of writing is dealt with below, this being 
a danger which goes beyond the mere physical defacement ; but 
of course it should be absolutely forbidden to students. 2 Should 
a mark of some kind be made, in spite of all precautions, on an 
Archive, the Archivist has two courses open to him. Either he 
may invoke the aid of an expert chemist, who will very possibly be 
able to remove it, or he may attach to the Archives a statement 
authenticated by signature and date of what has occurred. He 
will probably find it wisest of all to combine the two procedures. 3 

1 Its use is permitted, for example, in the Archives Nationales at Paris and in the 
British Museum. 

2 Even in the case of a Library of Printed Books of any value it is usual to make such 
an offence, wilfully committed, carry with it the penalty of exclusion. 

3 We have had occasion more than once to point out the usefulness of the authen- 
ticated and dated note by an Archivist concerning any archive peculiarity observed 
by him in any of his charges. The practice of former Archivists shows that the value 


In the turning of pages and the like incidents of handling 
some people apparently find it impossible to be careful : against 
such dangers the Archivist has little shield except the most 
complete supervision possible, the enforcement by every means 
of regulations as to the immediate reporting of all accidents, 
the prevention of all unnecessary touching by means of proper 
stands 1 and suitably covered weights, and a jealously guarded 
rule by which he may at his discretion refuse to produce any 
document on the ground of its physical state. It is probable 
that the extended use of photographic facilities, 2 which make 
the production of photographic copies easy and inexpensive, 
will do much to help in the preservation of Archives. 

(h) Theft. Against this and other ill practices of students — 
the actual commission of which would not be difficult where the 
document in question was small and the Students' Room large 
and full of workers — the Archivist has, apart from supervision, 
and moral deterrents, little defence : though supervision, if it 
includes the careful preservation of record of every person who 
studies Archives and the documents to which he or she has had 
access, may be made tolerably adequate. It may be well to 

of this habit has been generally appreciated. Thus in what is now known as Coram 
Rege Roll 352, at the Public Record Office, Membrane 131 b (dorse) ends with the 
words ' plus de isto placito in rotulo sequenti ' : to this is added a note ' set in anno 
domini 1604 cum hoc record urn abbreuiavi non patet ubi hie Rotulus est nee aliquod 
signum ubi consui debet de quo miror multum. Arm' Agarde.' 

I am indebted for this pleasant example to Professor Ehrlich, of the University 
of Lwow. An even earlier private example is afforded by a note in a fourteenth-century 
hand attached to a fragmentary document belonging to Winchester College, which the 
Bursar of the College, Mr. Herbert Chitty, was good enough to show me : ' in hoc 
sacculo continetur carta. R. dei gracia Regis Anglie . . . cum partibus minutis sigilli regit 
confracti et carta est in parte putrefacta quo minus legi potest.' Such annotation is, of 
course, not uncommon ; but the Archivist should make it frequent : anything outside the 
most ordinary routine of conservation and use deserves noting. 

1 See above (p. 48), § 5 (c). No student should under any circumstance be allowed 
to write on paper placed on the document except for purpose of tracing, which should 
only be done by special permission and with special precautions for the use of a soft 

2 The Photostat machine, working by electric light, produces negatives on 
sensitized paper : but cheaper and much more rapid devices using cinema film are now 
being perfected. A student working recently with one of these made easily in one day 
over 1 000 tiny negatives to be used later with a projecting lantern. 


add here that if only as a technical guarantee supervision must 
include always the presence of an official of the Archive depart- 
ment in the Students' Room during the whole time it is in use. 
As regards theft in particular — the Archivist can at least make 
it unprofitable by a systematic stamping of every detached (or 
readily detachable) leaf or membrane ' produced ' with a metal 
stamp and printer's ink. 1 He must remember, however, that 
this is not an absolute defence because it is unlikely that any 
ordinary thief would trouble to steal articles so unsaleable as 
most Archives. 

In fact (it is worth stressing) the person against whom we are 

to guard is not as a rule the ordinary criminal but the abnormally 

minded ' Student '. 

Obviously if we can dispense with the ' production ' of those 
' loose ' documents to whose make-up (or lack of it) we took ex- 
ception above we shall have increased security : nor indeed should 
any student be allowed to have at the same time such a number 
of single documents (even though each has a separate reference) 
as would make checking difficult when they were returned. 
These rules are by no means invariably enforced, but they are 
good ones. And in any case every student should be required 
to give a separate signed request for every Archive having a 
separate number. 

It has seemed hardly necessary to enlarge here upon the 
necessity that every student admitted to study Archives should 
be in some way accredited : nor to deal with the various systems 2 
under which he may ask for and have produced to him 
the Archives he requires. Forms of request and systems of produc- 
tion are many. In some large foreign Archives, for example, the 
system is more complicated and makes more demands upon both 
Archivist and Student than that in force at the Public Record 
Office : and on the other hand a small local Repository would 
not require anything like the safeguards in use at Chancery 
Lane. So long as the necessity for supervision is well under- 
stood and so long as the rule enunciated in the next section 

1 On this subject see also below, Part IV, § 2 (d). 

2 Accounts of these will be found in Royal Commission (1910), First Report, Part II. 


(that there must be a signature for every stage in the pro- 
duction of an Archive from its place in the repository to the 
student) is strictly enforced, the Archivist may be left to 
evolve for himself the most simple system his special circumstances 
permit. It is unlikely, however, that any Students' Room, even 
the most modest, will be able to dispense with a Register 
shewing, chronologically, all ' productions ' of documents to 

(i) Misplacing. This question of the student's use of Archives 
may lead us to speak of the last of Agarde's dangers ; x though 
doubtless he meant more by the word than its literal sense. 
The efficient administration of Archives involves a system 
for their ' production ', whether on a small or large scale. 
The only one which is safe is one like that of a registered letter, 
by which no Archive passes from its place on the shelves without 
a signature being given for every hand which touches it on the 
way ; its place being taken in the repository during its absence 
by a card, large and stout enough not to be lost, bearing its 
reference and the date and particulars of its removal including 
the identity of the remover. Its return is simply a reversal of 
the stages, many or few, through which it passes on its way 
out. 2 Simplification, then, of the process of 6 production ' in 
a large Office can only be by reduction of the number of these 
stages, not by the omission of any of the precautions in the way 
of signature. 

One thing more. When documents ' produced ' have been 
returned to the repository the cards which during their absence 
had replaced them on the shelves should not be destroyed but 
arranged in the order of the documents themselves to form a 
card index of ' production '. Experience has shewn that this 
' production ' history of the Archives is not only useful in itself 

1 Cp. a note by him, quoted above, as to a missing membrane. 

2 The misplacement of a document in any large collection is so serious an incon- 
venience (it may be the work of many days to put the error right) that it is well 
to have the strictest rules in force on this subject : for example any one engaged on the 
replacing of documents should make it a rule that once he has withdrawn a card from 
the shelf the document it represents must be replaced before another card is touched. 


but valuable because the knowledge of its existence promotes a 
spirit of carefulness in those whose work it is to produce and 
replace and whose personal connexion with these operations is 
thus permanently registered. 

(j) Labels, This subject, though it did not receive separate 
treatment in my first edition, deserves an interpolation here : 
if only because clear labelling is obviously one of the best 
defences against misplacing of a certain kind. We shall see later * 
that any Archive's description is separable into three divisions 
for which we shall suggest abbreviations taking the form of 
letters and numbers. Here we need only point out the con- 
venience of a settled and homogeneous system of displaying 
these devices on the documents or their containers : there will 
be much less chance of mistake if the same piece of information 
(the number, for instance, of a document in its series) is always 
conveyed, so far as labels are concerned, by the use of the same 
colour, the same position, the same type and the same shape. 2 
In large Repositories these mechanical aids are really impor- 
tant ; and they are always convenient. 3 

For most of the forms of make-up here recommended ' stick- 
on ' labels are suitable, and are the best. For economy they 
should be printed in sheets and for utility cut out from these 
with hollow punches having a cutting edge which forms a 
rectangle with rounded corners — labels so cut will stick 
better. Where c tie-on ', or ' tag ', labels are necessitated by the 
nature of the make-up the best pure rope manilla is recom- 
mended as a material, with brass eyelets. 

(k) Repairs. 

This is another matter directly connected with production : 
for while repairs, if the Archive collection is an old one, 

1 See below Part II § 6 (pp. 99, 100). 

2 At the Record Office, for example, when the back of a volume is to be labelled the 
first two parts of the reference are given in labels printed in scarlet and placed at the 
head, the third in black-printed labels placed at the tail. 

3 I have spoken here of the regular (reference) labels. Any abnormal ones (such as a 
label indicating that a particular document is to have special treatment) will obviously 
require to be distinguished from these (and from each other) by colour, shape, etc. 


should be systematically conducted by classes, where the 
need for them is noticed in individual cases as single docu- 
ments are produced these should be dealt with, if possible, 
forthwith. To meet the requirements of ' custody ' repair of 
Archives involves the presence, temporary or permanent, of a 
skilled repairer on the staff — or working under the supervision 
of the staff — officially connected with the administration of the 
repository concerned. Speaking generally we may say that in a 
large repository the amount of repairing work to be done will 
be so great that our object must be, while sacrificing no element 
of efficiency and safety, to secure the greatest possible economy 
and speed in working. 

The question of the extent to which the amateur, with a 
modest outfit of tools, may attempt the repair of paper and 
parchment documents was the subject of a recent article in the 
Proceedings x of the British Records Association ; and some of 
the remarks made there may for convenience be repeated here 
from a different angle. Naturally if work on a larger scale is to 
be attempted, and by hands other than those of the Archivist 
himself, one new question arises — that of supervision. But 
apart from this and the fact that the professional will undertake 
larger and more difficult operations than the amateur and 
consequently require an extended outfit of tools 2 and 
machinery 3 we may take it that the same conditions, resulting 
in the same principles and rules, will govern the work of both. 
In general it is to be observed that anyone who is neat-fingered 
in the ordinary affairs of life can, if he or she chooses to give the 
necessary time to practice, make a reasonably good repairer : 
such an one may be advised, once he or she has mastered the 

1 No. 1, 1936 : also printed separately. I have appended to this an abstract of the 
programme of a demonstration organized for the same body because the operations shewn 
on that occasion are described : and this is given in a different form below. 

2 To take a single instance the piercing of the guards in the filing process recommended 
above for loose papers will be done by the amateur with a hand-drill : but the quantity 
of filing to be done at the Record Office has made it worth while to install an electrical one. 

3 Notably heavy presses, machines for the speedier cutting up of large quantities of 
repairing material, and (if binding is contemplated) the special presses, etc., required for 
that work. 


first principles, to watch, if possible, a skilled repairer at work — 
at any rate to examine closely a properly repaired document — 
and then to accumulate a small kit and some valueless fragments 
of documents (if possible of varying date and character) and set 
out to gain practical experience. It is wise to begin with paper 
rather than parchment. 

Principle and Rules of work. The aim of the Archivist is to 
hand on to future generations the documents confided to him 
with no diminution in their evidential value : accordingly he 
has to guard against the destruction not only of those elements 
whose value as evidence is obvious to him but also of those 
whose value he does not perceive. A good example of evidence 
the value of which (now recognized) has been disregarded in 
the past is furnished by the holes made in sewing. 1 

The Repairer then, it may be laid down, should endeavour to 
put nothing into his Archives which was not there when he received it 
and to take away nothing which was : and this principle applies 
not only to tangible things — the material of his document — but 
to intangible — its qualities. Obviously there will be occasions 
(when, for instance, his document has a large hole in it) which 
make an exact observation of this principle impossible : but he 
will come near to it if he follows two rules : 

(i) so far as possible to replace missing material by 
material of the same kind ; and 

(ii) in every instance where what he has done in repair 
might escape observation to append a signed and dated 
explanatory note : 2 he must on no account cover his 

Materials. Little need be added to what we have just said : 
but it should be noted that the quality as well as the character 

1 It should be a rule in every repairing department that sewing of the actual fabric of 
Records should not be practised except in replacement of old sewing and should then be 
through the original holes. There is no evidence which can on occasion be more valuable 
than that of old sewing holes : and none which it is easier to confuse or destroy. 

2 To this will be added, if necessary, specimens : for instance, as noted above, a 
discarded form of binding may be thus represented. 


of any new material which is to be used must be equated to that 
of the old : we want the two to be affected by all the conditions 
which do affect documents (humidity, for example) in the same 
way. We should also, while counselling the Archivist to make 
the fullest use of any advice that the Chemist can give him, 
warn him in regard to modern materials that no laboratory test 
can tell us what the effect of time will be on materials x and that the 
unique character of Archives makes unjustifiable anything in 
the nature of experiment in regard to them except where all 
known methods of treatment have failed (for instance) to arrest 
decay. 2 

Actually there is, as a rule, little difficulty in obtaining 
what is necessary : parchment and vellum, made in much the 
same way as formerly, can still be obtained ; Western papers 
till the latter part of the last century were nearly all made of rag 
and sized with animal size, and such paper also is not unobtain- 
able ; and the materials of medieval and later sealing c waxes ' 3 
are known and can be copied. The method of applying the 
first three of these generally shews automatically what the 
Repairer has done and in seals the same result can be obtained 
by using deliberately a different colour in repair. Where a 
document is only decayed (i. e. when no part is visibly missing 
or torn) what the Repairer has to supply is the animal size, 
which in the vast majority of cases (whether the material is 
parchment or paper) is what the action of either fungus or 
bacteria has destroyed. 4 Size should be made in the repairing 
room by simmering down fragments of parchment and vellum 
in water and should be thick enough to go to a jelly (but not a 
stiff one) when cold. 

1 The disastrous effect, for example, of experiments with tracing paper, goldbeater's 
skin and strange adhesives may still be seen in many places in the Public Records. 

2 For this reason the use of materials such as that known in Germany as zapon (a 
celluloid solution used instead of size) has not here been considered. 

3 On the subject of Seals see also some separate remarks in section below. 

4 So far as I am aware no one has yet devised a method of preserving the cheaper 
modern papers, whose weakness is that of the actual fibres composing them. Something 
may be done by covering them completely on both sides with transparent but air-excluding 
material of a permanent character : in the New York Public Library, for instance, certain 
Newspapers have been thus treated with Japanese paper and rice paste. 


In certain cases the use of an alien material is unavoidable : 
notably three. First when size cannot be used as an adhesive 
(as it often cannot) paste is required : this again is best made 
at home and (to avoid the use of preservatives) made frequently. 1 
There are times when it would be very valuable to be able to 
use one of the ready-made ' dry mountants ' : but this is in the 
nature of an experiment even if it is preceded by a specific 
report from a chemist ; and it should certainly never be used 
without one, nor used generally at all. 

The second case covers the addition of a guard to one side 
of a document, by means of which it may be filed or sewn. 

The third arises when little or no overlap is available for 
the affixing of repairing material and some transparent material 
is therefore necessary : here pure natural silk gauze is suggested ; 
silk being known to withstand the effect of time, and this 
material, properly applied, being practically invisible. 

Methods of repairing Parchment and Paper. It must be premised 
that no amount of precept on this subject can replace ocular 
demonstration and experience ; and moreover that good 
Repairers vary in their technique : but some of the most 
common processes are described, in stages, below ; and a few 
remarks of general application may be made here. Taking it 
for granted that the Repairer is governed by well-understood 
rules which will prevent the destruction of any part of the 
document under any circumstances, and of any part of its old 
covering or labelling without specific consideration or instruc- 
tion in each case, 2 we may start with a warning that his first 

1 See on the subject of various pastes Douglas Cockerell's Bookbinding and the Care of 
Books (1901). But recent experiments made by Dr. G. H. Fowler seemed to shew that 
paste made with wheat flour (he recommends Canadian red wheat) is still the best. It 
should be very thoroughly boiled (a double saucepan is indicated) and made thick ; to 
be thinned as required in use with water. The use of a pinch of alum (not more than 
half an ounce to a pound of flour) is traditional in some places : the objection that it may 
result in a slight additional acidity is to a certain extent balanced by the fact that it makes 
possible the admixture of a pinch of resin ; which gives an extra ' tackiness ' valuable in 
some special cases. 

2 This is a point worth emphasizing : many binders (to take one example) find it 
difficult, when first introduced to Archive work, to realize that they may not even destroy 
old end-papers. 


and invariable proceeding should be to check the numbering 
of the individual leaves, membranes, &c, composing his 
document or, if necessary, number them himself ; using in the 
latter case a soft black lead pencil and a method of numerations 
which will distinguish it from old ones. 1 After this there will 
normally be (apart from the preliminary separation of mem- 
branes or leaves in a roll, file or book) from six to eight opera- 
tions to perform : the flattening of the document ; preparation 
of new material ; application of patches, &c. ; drying out ; 
sizing, if this is necessary ; and second drying ; final pressing ; 
trimming, assembling and make-up. Some of these, of course, 
may involve several stages. 

F or flattening the document the Repairer relies on water and a 
soft sponge except where a carbon ink 2 or paint make this 
impossible : fortunately this happens only in a minority of 
instances but in the cases (obviously requiring higher degrees of 
skill) where it does methods range from the simple one of 
sponging on the reverse side only to various devices 3 for making 
paper, parchment or vellum (the last two very hygroscopic 
substances, fortunately) absorb moisture without actual contact. 
Two warnings may be given at this point : one that documents 
with paint or carbon on them must never be pressed while in 
the damp state : the second, that there is a difference between 
colour which runs (on the surface) and colour which spreads. 
The last-named misfortune occurs when absorbent or fibrous 
material has on it something like a modern coloured ink 4 

1 At the Record Office a small diamond-shaped frame is drawn round the number. 

2 True inks (made of gall and iron : see below Part IV § 2(d) ) are stains, penetrating 
the fibres of the writing material : others (including all the colours of the early limners 
and the so-called Chinese and Indian inks) are pigments more or less adhering to the 
surface thanks to an adhesive medium : but in the later medieval period we get sometimes 
an admixture of carbon and gum with true ink. 

3 An ingenious device employed by Mr. Cockerell for parchment and vellum work 
consists of a frame on legs, like a table without a top : the document is suspended on this, 
in the place where the top ought to be, by means of weights pendent on strings clipped 
to its edges and hanging over the sides of the frame ; in which position it is exposed to 
the humidity from a neighbouring layer of damped cloth. It is admirable for fine work 
on delicate materials but rather slow when applied to the coarser vellums and perhaps a 
little cumbrous for a worker who has large quantities of sheets to treat. 

4 Something like a modern red ink begins to occur fairly frequently in the 17th century, 
especially for rulings in large formal documents. 


and I know no means of preventing it certainly. Both in this 
case and in that of surface pigments the use of fixatives before 
repair has been suggested : x but I know as yet none that I 
consider sure. 

The preparation of new material is based mainly on the parable 
of new patches on old garments : new paper must be chosen 
of a consistency to match as nearly as possible that of the old ; 
and new parchment must be rendered down, to the same end, 
by filing. Parchment or vellum will need, in any case, to be 
roughed on one side in that part which is to take the adhesive ; 
and both parchment and paper, if they are to be used for 
anything like patching, must have a ' feather ' or irregular 
edge, the material being thinned away to nothing : this can 
be done in the case of paper by skilful tearing but parchment 
requires the paring-knife and file. No patch or edging of new 
material should ever have a straight or cut edge. 

Methods of application are too much a matter of practice for 
description to be of much profit ; though we may note as 
fundamental the constant attempt to get old and new to stretch, 
and again contract, to the same extent and in the same way : 
from which it results first that document and repairing material 
must be equally damped and second that in the case of paper 
the laying lines must run in the same direction. As to the 
processes employed — documents which are only decayed may be 
treated by mere sizing and pressing, or if written on one side 
only may be backed with new material of the same kind, 2 which 
can be torn or cut away to reveal any endorsement. Where 
complete backing is not possible the damaged part of the docu- 
ment may be edged or patched with new material : but whether 
complete backing is used or only a patch or edging, any 
considerable hole should be filled with a second piece of new 

The ' spreading ' power (under the influence of damp) of writing in, or dust from, the 
purple variety of ' indelible ' pencil is one of the reasons why that product should never 
be allowed near documents. 

1 A well-known fixative is a solution of white shellac in alcohol ; which can be sprayed. 

2 It is a permissible departure from principle in the case of very large documents 
(especially parchment ones) to mount on unbleached linen instead of backing with their 
own material. 


material, of the size and shape of the hole, dropped into it from 
the other side 1 after the first operation has been performed. 
In the case of a paper sheet written on both sides the best 
method (though expensive) as a rule is framing ; where a 
complete sheet of new paper is pasted down over the old and 
the centre of it immediately torn away again to reveal the 
writing. 2 With all these processes silk gauze, normally laid on 3 
underneath the other new material, is employed when excep- 
tional fragility, or the absence of sufficient blank space in the 
document for an overlap, render it essential. 

As to the first drying we need only say that it is normally 
accomplished between sheets of absorbent paper under only the 
lightest of weights : though in some cases a paper document 
may have a short nip in the press during this process. After 
drying all paper and some parchment documents are soaked 
with warm (not hot) size laid on with a broad soft brush ; and 
again dried, this time by being hung on lines. 4 They are then 
placed between sheets of cartridge and these between pressing 
boards and so put into the large press : after which surplus 
repairing material is trimmed away ; and they are made-up into 
final form. 

The above is the series of ordinary processes but we may 
add that a document which has been mounted on new material, 
specially a large one, may often be conveniently finished by 
being stretched while damp on a stout millboard covered with 
waxed tissue paper. For this purpose the new material is cut 
to project well beyond the old and these surplus edges are 

1 In the case of parchment repair this ' backing and filling ' system has the advantage 
(that the whole of one side of the new material is to be roughed, which saves a good deal 
of in and out filing. At the Record Office the extended use of this system has justified 
the installation of a machine by which whole skins are roughed before the patches, &c. 
are cut out of them. These are, of course, finally treated with file and paring knife 
before application. 

2 Framing is particularly satisfactory when the document consists of sheets of a 
book which are subsequently to be re-bound. 

3 It should be laid on dry and pasted over, surplus paste being then removed with the 

4 They must be shifted from time to time to prevent them sticking. 


turned over and pasted on to the back of the millboard : the 
whole being then left to dry. 1 

We have given here a description of the chief methods and 
processes employed at the Public Record Office : it is not 
intended to exclude the possibility of others 2 but it is claimed 
that these are at least governed throughout by the single 
principle with which we started. Turning finally to the question 
of Implements we note that very little is needed of a special 
character. The bookbinder's bone ' folder ', and some kind of 
bodkin for adjusting the tinier pieces of decayed material, are 
essentials ; and so are good brushes — a painter's round bristle 
brush for paste and a large flat one of hair (mounted on its 
handle with zinc, not iron) for sizing : but after these almost 
the sole special supply is that of the press and pressing boards. 
It should be noted, by the way, that a Repairing Room which 
is supplied with large iron presses will still need a ' nipping- 
press ' which can be worked with one hand. Scissors and 
needles, files and knives, 3 bowls, saucepans and sponges, and 
other like articles, we have already implied. One matter we 
have not mentioned is that of cleaning materials — bread and 
the softest draftsman's India rubber : they will be needed but 
it is to be noted that they cannot generally be used after repair 
(which acts as a fixative) and in many cases can only be used 
before it with great care. 4 

1 It is sometimes a convenient thing to use a stout wooden "ply" board, lined 
with repairing paper, for this purpose ; and to leave a large document permanently 
stretched in this way for easy handling. Not being itself stuck to the board it can always 
be detached in a moment by running a knife round the edge. 

2 One of the most skilful of paper-repairing operations, for instance, is to split the 
document and mount the two sides on a core of new paper. But experience seems to 
shew that this is never an unavoidable expedient and it is difficult to believe that any 
operator could invariably practise it without accident. 

3 A half-round bastard file is best for the purpose. Paring knives the Repairer will 
generally prefer to make and edge for himself. 

4 I have not thought it worth while to deal here with known methods (such as the 
use of hydrogen peroxide vapour) for the elimination of stains. For Museum specimens 
such treatment is probably necessary : but however good a guarantee we may have of 
the harmlessness of such processes it is, after all, based only on a laboratory test ; and the 
Archivist, for whom the exhibition of his documents is not a primary object, may well 
save himself an added anxiety. This is not to say that there may not arise exceptional 


We have still to deal with the special aspects of Repair work 
when applied to Binding and Seals but before doing so may 
interpolate one emphatic caution. The question of what may be 
done by way of repair to an Archive must always depend on an ability to 
read and understand it. A Librarian can generally turn over his 
books for binding to a skilled workman without any special 
instruction : the Archivist, if he is not going to repair himself, 
can seldom (however fortunate he may be in the skill of his 
Repairers) dispense himself from the responsibility of saying in 
each case what is, and what is not, to be done in the light of his 
knowledge of the document's nature and contents. We may 
also add that the Archivist must see that a Register, carefully 
kept up to date, shews every document that comes into the 
Repair Department, with details of the operations performed 
on it. 

(/) Binding 

We have already indicated the limitations within which 
this form of make-up may be used for Archives On the 
technical question of methods of binding for new books, or of 
re-binding for modern ones when this is required, the student 
may be referred to the work of Mr. Cockerell. 1 It should be 
hardly necessary to add that if binding is to be used for Archives 
only the best materials (particularly for sewings, linings, boards 
and end-papers) should be employed : and Archivists who 
study in Mr. CockerelPs school will not fail to realize that 
' casing ' is not binding and that the unseen parts of a book — the 
sewing and backing and the materials used at those stages — are 
perhaps more (certainly not less) important than the outside ; 
which is indeed, apart from the necessity for good materials, a 
very suitable field for the practice of economy. 2 We may 
perhaps add that for heavy volumes the spring-back binding is 

circumstances (if for example an accidental blot or stain has made reading impossible) 
when the Archivist, choosing the lesser of two evils, might have recourse to the Chemist's 
art : though even here he should make quite sure that he cannot attain the same end by 
the use of special lighting and perhaps photography. 

1 Bookbinding and the Care of Books, already cited : I have given, however, one or two 
specimen specifications in Appendix III (/). 

2 For example since every Archive volume has (we shall see later) a reference number 


probably best provided the nature of the sheets (and sewing) 
allows it ; x alternatively that (again for heavy books) the old- 
fashioned true l flexible ' style is worth its cost — if one can find 
a Binder to do it ; that head- and tail-bands ' blocked ' over 
glued card or a strip of leather prolong the life of the back of a 
binding ; that vellum ' points ' to the fore corners of the boards 
do the same for it in another place ; and that an even greater 
contributor to long life is the vellum shoe, or slipper, glued and 
tacked (with brass tacks) to the lower edges of the boards. We 
should add also that the Archivist must not be too hopeful of 
finding easily, in a decadent age, a Binder who can undertake 
even all the known forms of modern binding : it is a regrettable 
fact, but one which should be recognized, that a great many 
trained ' Binders ' at the present day are trained only to 
produce work of a kind which is useless to the Archivist. 

As to the materials — one would like to recommend a half or 
even quarter vellum binding but not every Binder can be 
trusted with that material : 2 perhaps whole-binding in pure 
linen buckram is the safest general recommendation ; but 
flexible style (in which the cover is stuck down on to the back 
of the sheets) requires of course leather, though buckram may 
still be used for the sides. Into the controversial question of the 
cause of decay in modern leathers 3 I do not propose to go : 
merely saying that in my experience the vegetable-tanned 
leathers 4 of the early days, if they have had ordinarily fair 
treatment, are nearly always in quite good condition still, though 
modern ones standing side by side with them may be crumbling : 
and that it seems therefore wise, if and when leather must be 

which is permanent and which must in any case be affixed to it there is really no need to 
letter it. This is, in fact, an economy practised at the Record Office. 

1 See some remarks above under the heading of Make-up. 

2 The common fault is to stretch it too much, and at too late a stage in the binding, 
at the joint : the resulting tendency to crack at that point has brought vellum as a binding 
material into an unmerited disrepute. 

3 A Committee of the Society of Arts published a valuable Report on Leather for 
Book-binding in 1901 : and other Committees have dealt with the subject since. 

4 The old white-tawed leathers have also stood the test of centuries extraordinarily 
well; but this type of leather is perhaps rather soft for general purposes. 


used, to insist 1 on having material which can be proved to be 
tanned in this way. As a preservative for both old and new the 
British Museum mixture 2 may be recommended. 

But the Archivist-Binder's task does not end with binding 
and re-binding. Economy often demands a very large amount 
of re-backing and patching ; and indeed this practice (because it 
disturbs less) has from an Archive point of view positive 
advantages : moreover it is always better for sheets which have 
been glued up and backed not to be separated again if that can 
be avoided. Without going into the possible varieties of work 
of this kind I would emphasize the fact that here again sound 
interior work is much more important than outward appear- 
ance : 3 a few examples of specifications for modern repair 
bindings are given in Appendix III (/). 

So we come to the subject of Repairing Early 4 Bindings and 
find great difficulty in saying anything worth while except at 
inordinate length. The fact is (it is not always fully recognized) 
that Binders in the past, especially provincial ones and in 
general those concerned with the production of books for 
Business rather than Literary purposes, were extraordinarily 
individual in their methods. The problem of translating the 
technique of ' flexible ' binding into terms of vellum casing ; 5 
the problem of finding a cheap substitute for oak boards ; the 
problem of sewing the manuscript of a clerk who would make 
up sections of twenty or more sheets instead of the decent 
quaternion ; the problem of the clerk trained in Italian 

1 The Archivist who buys, for example, the admirable ' Niger ' leather (African goat) 
must make sure that it has not been re-tanned in this country. 

2 Cedar oil and pure lanoline in hexane. In view of the preponderance of calf among 
old leathers I like to add a little neat's foot oil. 

3 In this connexion I may perhaps add that in the course of the last ten or fifteen years 
I have had to take responsibility (in the interests of economy) for a good many thousand 
re-backings which I certainly do not consider beautiful but which, in view of the work 
put into them, I do believe to be efficient. 

4 I do not indicate by the word ' early ' any exact date limit : but it would compre- 
hend all bindings of a date much earlier than 1700 and a good many much later. 

5 Vellum cannot conveniently be stuck down on a back : hence the introduction of the 
case — the ultimate ancestor of the modern cloth binding (so called). Vellum cases are 
extremely common in Archives and I have seen literally dozens of special devices employed 
by individual binders during the evolution of this form. 


accounting who wanted a ' ledger ' opening 1 — numbers of 
difficulties such as these beset the ancient Binder and left their 
traces on his work : and all these unpredictable peculiarities it 
is the task of the Archivist, or his Binder, to note and preserve. 
He must even be prepared on occasion to go behind the modern 
work of a destructive predecessor and deduce, perhaps from no 
more evidence than some old sewing holes and the stain on an 
end sheet, the style and material of the original binding. It is 
hardly necessary to add that the Archivist's written note is here 
particularly important : because very often the indications of 
its past history are visible only when a book has been stripped 
for re-covering ; in some instances only when the sheets have 
been separated for re-sewing. 

It is needless to say after this that a Binder who undertakes 
to deal with early bindings should be master of all the ordinary 
styles. He must also, if he is to be in a position to do every kind 
of work which may be required of him, have some of the 
abilities of a saddler, a joiner, a metal worker and (of course) a 
trained repairer of documents, particularly of parchment ones : 
and he must be prepared to do many things which would 
occasion some surprise in orthodox Binding Shops. 

There I propose to leave the subject. I will only add, lest 
it should be thought that I have already dwelt too long on it, 
first that abnormalities of binding occur much more late and 
more frequently in Archives than is generally supposed, and 
secondly that there exist, I believe, in provincial Repositories in 
England to-day, really considerable quantities of ' early ' bind- 
ings of some importance which are in urgent need of repair, and 
for the repair of which, supposing that it could immediately be 
put in hand, it would at present be difficult to cater. 

(m) Seals. 
In my first edition this subject was treated at some 
length : but since that date an article has dealt in 

1 This particular problem was not, I believe, solved till the development of the modern 
spring back (in a series of stages) during the early years of last century. Italian account- 
ancy, involving the use of the ledger with double-page entries, had been introduced in 
the sixteenth. 


detail * with most of the points which are of chief moment to the 
Archivist, and these may be summarized here. 

In the first place the question of Nomenclature is of more 
importance in this case than in most : and it is strongly urged 
that English Archivists should adopt the English phraseology 
for the description of ' appended ' and ' applied ' seals which 
was recommended some years ago 2 by an Anglo-American 
Committee on editing and which, with a little adaptation when 
(in later periods) methods of affixing seals became somewhat 
mixed, can be used in all instances. 3 It would also be well if 
Archivists could use with precision terms such as ' bad impres- 
sion ', ' defaced ', ' incomplete ' and ' fragment ' : it is some- 
times forgotten that a ' fragment ' may be a ' good impression '. 
Next the Archivist has to bear in mind the three chief varieties 4 
of Seal Material : these are true wax (used universally through- 
out the medieval period and decreasingly thereafter) ; shellac 
(used for most small applied seals from the 16th century 
onwards and for some others) ; and the late ' wafer ', made of 
a flour mixture and used with paper in the 18th and 19th 

The question of the Packing and Make-up of documents with 
Seals has already been discussed : but we may emphasize the 
fact that the plan of cutting seals from their documents, under 
any circumstances, is now definitely discredited : numerous 
melancholy examples will be found in many large Collections 
to shew how a seal divorced from its document may lose 
evidential value and even identity. 

The Repair of Seals of medieval wax is sufficiently explained 
in the article already mentioned : the adhesive used is a wax 
of the same composition 5 as the original but of a different 

1 In Antiquaries' Journal IV (1924), p. 388. See further recent article in British 
Archaeological Association, Journal, 3rd Ser., I (1937), p. 93; summarizing the various 
aspects of Sigillographic study from the point of view of the English Student. 

2 See Institute of Historical Research, Bulletin, No. 1. 

3 On this point see also the article in British Archaeological Association, Journal, 
cited above. 

4 Lead, so far as I know, is never used in English seals. Some other abnormal 
materials are described in the article mentioned in the preceding note. 

5 Two thirds pure bees-wax to one third powdered resin : to be coloured if necessary 
(for reproductions) with highly levigated natural pigments — generally vermilion or 


colour, the tool a heated knife or bodkin. For extra strength 
headless steel pins are sometimes thrust into, or buried in, the 

Methods of Moulding seals (and of taking casts or impressions 
from the moulds) are also sufficiently explained in the article 
already cited. It should be remembered that seals are liable 
to deteriorate even when properly packed and left undisturbed ; 
and the taking of plaster moulds is therefore a wise precaution. 
On the other hand moulding by ' squeeze ' l (which in the case 
of ' applied ' seals is often necessary, and in that of papered 
seals practically always) may be a dangerous process : applied 
seals, if of true wax and not papered, are liable to come away 
on the squeezing material unless this is very carefully chalked ; 
and both varieties have generally an uneven surface which 
must be carefully supported from below when the pressure of 
the ' squeeze ' is going on above. 

The making of Casts from his moulds is particularly valuable 
if the Archivist can arrange that they, and not the originals, 
shall be used for study and (particularly) photography : for 
the latter purpose the use of a plaster made with water coloured 
by the admixture of yellow ochre is recommended ; the casts 
thus made being steeped, when dry, in melted paraffin wax and 
brushed up. 

Two final points have been the subject of later investigation 2 
— the repair of shellac seals and the treatment of papered ones. The 
former may be accomplished with a saturated solution of 
shellac (or of modern ' sealing wax ' of a different colour) in 
alcohol. In the case of the latter the trouble is usually that the 
material under the paper, whether wax or wafer, is as a rule 
hopelessly broken or decayed. Fortunately the paper, if it has 
retained the impression, can generally be trusted to go on 
doing so provided it is protected from any severe pressure : 

1 When this method is used a plaster cast is made from the squeeze and a plaster 
mould made from the cast for preservation. For the purpose of taking the squeeze 
any of the children's ' play waxes,' well softened, may be used. 

2 I may take the opportunity of correcting here a printer's error in my article in the 
Antiquaries' Journal : on page 396 the percentage of hydrochloric acid should be not 
8 but .36. 


and the best expedient is frankly to clear away the remaining 
fragments from under it and fasten it in position by a touch of 
paste on that part of it which is outside the impression; appending, 
of course, an explanatory note. 

(n) Artificial Aids to Reading. In the first edition of this book 
the subject of Re-agents was included here ; principally because 
it is generally considered part of the duty of a Repairer to 
undertake the restoration of illegible inks : though of course 
there is no suggestion that he should ink over passages which 
have faded — a process as criminal as the ' faking ' of missing 
parts of a seal — many students expect him to apply chemical 
restoratives. The answer has always been that the two accepted 
specifics — a solution of gall or ammonium sulphide — were both 
open to the objection that they could not be applied without 
the parchment or paper, as well as the ink, being affected ; 
that gall in all cases, and ammonium sulphide in some, pro- 
duced a stain which might very probably grow worse with 
time ; * and that ammonium sulphide was not even permanent 
in its effect on the ink : and the conclusion was that they could 
not be used generally but only when all possibilities in the way 
of variation of the kind, quantity or incidence of light had been 
tried unsuccessfully and when it was proposed either to publish 
or to photograph the document after treatment. 

The development in recent years in the use of artificial light, 
and particularly of ultra-violet rays in conjunction with various 
light-filters, in aid either of visual reading or of photography, 
seems likely to banish the use of re-agents almost entirely in the 
future, valde feliciter : though it may be noted that at present 
the devices themselves are not wholly free of suspicion as 
possibly damaging, if used unwisely, to the document and even 
to the student. The newest methods for their safe and con- 
venient use, as perfected at the Huntington Library, are 
described in a recently published work : 2 which deals also with 

1 Even the weak solution of gall (i per cent.) now recommended makes a stain : 
stronger ones used in the past have sometimes made the documents practically black. 

2 R. B. Haselden, Scientific Aids for the Study of Manuscripts (supplement to the 
Bibliographical Society's Transactions, No. io), 1935. 


the use of infra-red rays and with numerous other photographic 
and microscopic devices. 

(0) Special Dangers. It should be hardly necessary to add in 
conclusion that the measures recommended in the preceding 
Sections have been based on experience in England : and that 
the conditions of preservation, and the materials used, in other 
countries must necessarily produce special problems which will 
need special investigation for their solution : to take only one 
example, the rag paper which (with fair treatment) seems 
almost everlasting in Europe may undoubtedly prove perishable 
in tropical climates. 1 Such facts obviously call for independent 
investigation and new measures based on special laboratory 
research combined with patient observation and tabulation of 
the results of experience on the spot. On the other hand it is 
quite certain that the essential quality of Archives in Ceylon, or 
South Africa, are the same as those in this or any other country : 
the Archivist there may have new problems to solve but he 
should solve them along the same lines. 

(p) Archive Museums and Safe Rooms. We have already 
deprecated the detachment of what should remain, as they were 
originally, objects annexed to Archives ; and a Museum, if it is 
instituted, should not be allowed to become a temptation to 
such practices : moreover it is to be noted that many good 
authorities (especially abroad) condemn permanent exhibition 
on the ground of possible danger from continued exposure to 
light : also that Museum cases (especially anything in the 
nature of wall frames) may lead to distortion of the document 
and often suffer from faulty ventilation. On the other hand 
we have admitted the propriety of segregating part of a docu- 
ment (we instanced the case of a map folded up in a volume) 
when its own safety demands it; and there is something to be 
said for the idea of placing documents having an intrinsic value 
(for instance those having a golden bulla or silver seal skippet 
attached to them) or documents of exceptional fragility in a 

1 This remark is based on an examination of European papers which have been sub- 
jected to the climatic conditions of (for example) Ceylon. 


Museum (or in a safe or Safe Room * acting as an adjunct to 
the Museum) in order to ensure special protection for them. 2 
Nor need cases necessarily be ill-arranged, ill-ventilated or un- 
provided with curtains. It may also be urged that the Museum 
has educational value as enabling the more spectacular speci- 
men to be exhibited for the benefit of those who do not desire 
to come in as regular students : and it provides a home for 
furniture, pictures and miscellaneous objects which often accrue 
in connexion with Archives while not forming an actual part 
of them. 

Probably the best compromise would be to make provision 
of Museum cases contingent on provision for the frequent and 
regular inspection and changing of their contents : and to bar 
all wall cases and all cases in which ventilation was not 
efficiently controlled. 

§ 6. Primary Duties of the Archivist : 
(ii) Moral Defence of Archives. 

(a) Introductory. We have already dwelt at some length 
upon the importance of custody and have even gone so far as 
to suggest that the Archivist might go out of his way to secure 
the custody of Archives with which he is not primarily con- 
cerned. We need do no more here than to draw the obvious 
inference that once Archives are in his keeping the Archivist 
must allow no access, or possibility of access, to them in any 
circumstances, except under the personal supervision of himself 
or his deputy ; supervision including his or his deputy's personal 
presence without intermission. It is equally clear that in 
no circumstances may any marking or alteration of a document 
(alteration including any change whatever in its relation to 
other documents) be made by any one save an Archive Official. 

This decided, the moral dangers to Archives against which 
we have to guard are clearly to be apprehended chiefly from 

1 A room of this kind, access to which is governed by special regulations, exists in more 
than one national Archive Repository. 

2 Naturally all documents, or portions of documents, so segregated will be represented 
in the place where they ought naturally to be found by a dummy indicating the actual 
position to which they have been transferred. 


the Archivist himself ; and since we may presumably acquit 
him of any intention to tamper deliberately with his Archives 
the wrong-doing will be unintentional. Elsewhere 1 we have 
given a catholic series of examples of what an Archivist should 
not do. Here we may endeavour to set up for him some 
positive rules of conduct. 

The most common fault is haste in dealing with Archives, 
due to anxiety to make them available for use : this, or any other 
form of negligence carrying with it a lack of understanding, 
may lead the Archivist to incorporate in his Archives something 
foreign to them, as we see the c Pells and Auditors ' arrangement 
forced on the Exchequer of Receipt ; 2 or alternatively may 
result in something essential being cut out of them, as the 
pieces of mutilated Receipt Rolls, merely by being separated 
from each other, lost perhaps the last evidence for their identifi- 
cation. Separation for one reason or another of documents that 
have been preserved together is so common an error, and so 
fatal, that we may perhaps give one or two more examples ; 
remarking by the way that as a general rule it is only some lucky 
chance, which has made it possible to put the error right, which 
reveals even the existence of these mistakes ; the vast majority 
of documents so mishandled are from the very circumstances of 
the mishandling lost to view. 

Our first example is furnished by a letter, printed by Bain 
in his Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland. For the purposes 
of this publication Bain drew from some source now unknown 
a letter which he attributes to [George] Gely : 3 it has itself 
neither signature nor address. We might conjecture from the 
fact that he ascribed it so confidently to Cely that it was 
taken from the Cely Correspondence, 4 though without confirma- 

1 In Appendix V (i) : an illustration of the Archivist's duties, drawn from the 
history of the Exchequer of Receipt, to which the student of this section may turn 
with advantage. 

2 Appendix V (i). 

3 Vol. iv, p. 415 : the letter, formerly in Chancery Miscellanea, is now Ancient 
Correspondence, vol. 60, No. 89. 

4 A collection of private documents, largely of the fifteenth century, which 
became annexed in some way to the Archives of the Chancery and is now in the Public 
Record Office. 


tion it is difficult to attribute to the papers of that family 
a letter addressed to some one not of the family (probably 
Sir John Weston) then in Naples ; with whose muniments it 
would naturally be expected to have remained. We can get 
so far as to justify the ascription to George Cely on an inference 
from a letter 1 of George's brother Richard which happens to 
have survived elsewhere. The truth as to its provenance, with 
any implications which might attach to that, remains, and will 
probably remain always, uncertain. 

A parallel case to that of the Cely is furnished by the Stonor 
Papers, 2 a private collection of the same kind at the Public 
Record Office ; the varying character of which, though in 
reality they form a perfectly regular whole, has led to their 
being so scattered that they are found now in classes as widely 
apart as the Ancient Correspondence, Chancery Miscellanea, Ancient 
Deeds, and Exchequer Accounts ; with the result that there has 
been a very considerable difficulty in some cases in identifica- 
tion and ascription. Here the mischief is due not so much to 
over-anxiety to utilize for historical purposes as to adherence 
to a preconceived notion of classification from without. A 
precisely similar case (due perhaps to the ' methodizers ' of 
the State Paper Office) may be seen in two letters, one a 
testimonial from the Swedish Minister (now in State Papers 
Foreign, Foreign Ministers, vol. lxv), and the other a letter 
from a certain Dr. Layard in 1775 (now in State Papers Domestic, 
George III, vol. xi, no. 28) : only the chance of a pencil note 
reveals the fact that the first of these is an enclosure to the 
second— regarded externally (on their individual merits) they 
seem to be quite correctly placed. Examples from both private 
and public Archives might be multiplied. 

(b) Reception : Old Numeration and Lists : Order of Arrival. 
We assume for the present that the Archivist is taking over 
formed Archives and has space in which to bestow them : 

1 Ancient Correspondence, vol. 53, No. 102 : printed by H. E. Maiden in the Royal 
Historical Society's Cely Papers, p. 87. Mr. Maiden has not unnaturally missed 
the letter printed by Bain. I am indebted for this reference to my former colleague 
Mr. Charles Johnson. 

2 Printed by C. L. Kingsford in the Historical Society's Stonor Papers. 


questions which arise when this is not the case may be post- 
poned for a later section. He has, then, no responsibilities 
before the moment of reception and every responsibility, that 
no genuine evidence be lost nor false one manufactured, that 
neither suppressio veri take place nor suggestio falsi, after that 

There are four chief possibilities. Either he is informed 
that the documents are arranged and is furnished with a List ; 
or he has reason to expect arrangement but has no list : in both 
these cases his first duty is obviously to check. Alternatively 
he has no information other than the appearance of the docu- 
ments ; in which case his first duty is an investigation which 
will show either that they are or are not arranged, together 
with the checking, if arrangement does appear, of the numbers. 

The question may be raised — what should the Archivist do 
in the case where he is taking over not from an active adminis- 
trative body but from another Archivist who has already dealt 
with the documents ? If the Archivist has made up his mind 
(as had to be done in the case of the Exchequer of Receipt) that 
the whole arrangement of a class by his predecessor requires 
revision he will obviously be in exactly the same position as 
if the documents had come from an active administrative office : 
i. e. his responsibility will begin from the moment he takes over 
and the rules for his conduct will be the same as are laid down 
below. In the matter of subsequent arrangement some difference 
may be caused by the fact that documents have been arranged 
before, but that is a point for later treatment. 

The most obvious rules, then, since the Archivist has in any 
case no first-hand knowledge of the documents, are that no old 
lists may be destroyed and that his preliminary checking and 
investigation must not interfere with the order in which the documents 
are received or any old numeration. This is not to say that if five 
clearly labelled volumes are delivered in the order 3, 5, 1, 4, 2, 
he may not set them in sequence on the floor. But apart from 
such clear cases nothing must be done to destroy the possible 
evidence offered by the order of their coming. 

(r) Accession Numbers. The next thing to do is to safeguard 


for the future any evidence which may be offered by this order 
of arrival. There are two possibilities. 

(i) If the preliminary examination has shown that their 
former owners had numbered the documents and that 
they are complete, the order in which they arrived is 
clearly of no further importance : they may be put at 
once into the order of their old numbering. 
(ii) If there is no old numbering, or if there is one but a 
quantity of the documents are missing, there is only one 
safe course — to number the documents consecutively through- 
out with Accession Numbers. 
Before we go on to some Rules for this numbering and for 
stamping there are one or two connected points to mention. In 
the first place there are obviously certain common-sense cases 
lying between (i) and (ii) above : for example, if the Archivist 
has, say, a complete collection of volumes or papers numbered 
from 1 to 1,000, and one paper unnumbered, it would be 
absurd to upset the numbering of the thousand for the sake of 
the one ; let the single document, if it is apart, be numbered 
1,001 with a note added to describe the circumstances under 
which it was found ; or if attached to another let it be treated 
in the manner provided below for enclosures and the like. The 
Archivist, in fact, must be left to decide, on the merits of 
individual cases, how many such strays would necessitate 
a re-numbering of the whole in the order of accession as 
' unarranged documents '. 

Then there is the case of regularly accruing Archives. For 
example, ' Chancery ' Archives from the High Court in England 
are transferred to the Public Record Office at regular intervals ; 
and probably most County Archivists find themselves in a 
similar position in respect of certain classes of their Archives. 
In such cases there is opportunity for liaison between the 
Archivist and Administrative Compiler of the Archives ; for 
the latter can make the task of the former much lighter by 
adopting his suggestions as to packing and numeration. 

(d) Original or Early Files, &c. We may emphasize here a 
matter already treated in another connexion. The numbering 


we are at present describing is undertaken with the sole object 
of safeguarding the evidence offered by the documents' position 
and mutual relations at the time they are taken over. But there 
is one point which it cannot cover. The Archivist, dealing with 
loose papers, may presently (as we have seen above) fasten them 
together or he may leave them loose : but whichever he does 
future generations will require a distinction between these 
papers and those which were found filed or fastened together; 
because the fact that not the Archivist but the original adminis- 
tration bracketed documents together in this way may be of 
extreme significance. It follows that there should be an 
absolute Rule that no original filing or binding may be interfered 
with in any way. 1 Of course, all Rules have exceptions. In the 
exceptional case where something (necessary repair, for ex- 
ample) makes the breaking up of a file or volume imperative, a 
dated and authenticated note giving full particulars of the 
destroyed arrangement should be attached to the documents 
before they are again fastened together, which should be done 
as soon as possible. 2 

(e) Stamping and Numbering : Methods and Rules. For number- 
ing it will be wise to use an automatic numerating stamp : 
there are several patterns but one should be chosen which 
can be adjusted easily, when required, to stamp the same 
number several times over instead of continuing the automatic 

1 A particularly good example of the way in which by such interference evidence 
may be falsified is furnished by some late seventeenth-century Colonial State Papers 
which came to the nineteenth century in an undoubtedly contemporary arrangement 
and contemporary vellum bindings ; these last were the typical bindings of the period, 
the sewing being on pairs of vellum slips, the ends of which are drawn through the 
covers — the ancestors of the modern hollow-back binding. By merely cutting through 
the slips inside the boards a whole volume might be taken out of its cover and the 
' methodizer ' then proceeded to cut it up and rearrange the contents. When these 
were sewn and glued up again ready for binding the natural tendency would 
be to put them back in the original cover, which was still quite good ; and 
we have as a result what appears to be an original binding with the papers in 
their original order ; which nothing but a second breaking up would show to be a modern 

2 See our remarks above in connexion with Make-up, Repair and Binding (§5 (/), (k) 
and (/)). It may be added that the necessity for keeping notes and specimens applies 
not only to original (contemporary) forms of make-up but to intermediate ones, resulting 
from the activities of earlier Archivists ; which, though they have not the importance of 
those of contemporary administration are often very significant. 


1, 2, 3 . . . They are all metal stamps using a suitable ink. 
A coloured ink should be used or some other means of 
distinguishing this accession numeration from any other, 
previous or subsequent. It will be wise to undertake at the 
same time, if possible, the ordinary stamping with the name 
of the office. As has been already indicated * only metal 
stamps and permanent inks should be used. Where a collection 
has been taken over every document in which is already 
numbered it is obviously not necessary to number again : 
in spite of this it will be well, if possible, to make an invariable 
rule of this first numbering so that all documents may have an 
accession number distinguished in the same way (e. g. by 
colouring as suggested above) from every other numeration. 

(/) Stamping and Numbering : the Accessions Register. The 
Accession Numbering has, it should be noted, nothing to do 
with the subject or character of the documents. It merely 
records the state in which they were received and should work 
into a summary Register of Accessions. The arrangement of 
this will vary with circumstances such as the size of the Collec- 
tion : the Archivist may number all accessions in any year 
consecutively giving a superior number for the year ; or give 
a superior number to each collection received or each recep- 
tacle ; or adopt what plan he pleases so long as every document 
received has an accession number which is enough to distinguish 
it from any other received at any time and so long as the 
Accession Register shows that on a given date, such and such 
numbers were received from such and such a source. Probably 
Archivists would find it convenient to combine the Year Number 
referred to with the Office Stamp. 

(g) Stamping and Numbering : the Single Document ; the File 
or Volume ; the Enclosure, Schedule or Insertion. 2 We have said 
that every document is to receive an Accession Number. It 
is usual, however, to make a distinction between the classes 
mentioned above : a volume, for example, is treated as a single 
document ; a file not always. It will be well to examine these classes. 

1 Above (p. 64), § 5 (h). 

2 Actual methods of numbering are described below. 


The distinction sometimes attempted between documents 
written on a ready-made roll or volume and documents written 
singly and subsequently bound or sewn up need not detain us 
long. Many medieval English enrolments were made up long 
after writing, sometimes out of heterogeneous materials (as for 
instance the Carte Antique Rolls of the Chancery) ; * and even 
in the case of the later books (such as the Registers of the Privy 
Council) there is sometimes room for doubt : the same remark 
would apply to many Cartularies. 

But there is a distinction between the book or roll contain- 
ing, for example, a continuous series of accounts on the one 
hand and on the other a series of single documents made on 
separate pieces of parchment or paper ; and there is a distinc- 
tion again between either of these and the file (the original 
file, made by the Office which compiled them) of separate but 
related documents. Moreover, whatever numbering treatment 
is extended to these, it does not generally touch our third 
class — enclosures, schedules, and insertions. The only question 
is how far should these distinctions affect our Accession 
Numeration ? 

Now this Numeration has only one object — the perpetual 
preservation of a record of the state of the documents as they 
came to the Archivist ; and it must be obvious that the single 

1 The origin of these rolls is a matter of speculation and controversy. They are 
composed, sometimes, of membranes widely differing in date ; but at the same time 
go back undoubtedly (as enrolments) to a very early time. They were calendared by 
Sir Joseph Ayloffe in the eighteenth century. Membranes seem often to have been 
made up into rolls long after they were written, as in the case of the Plea Rolls. But 
indeed it is probable that all enrolments were subject to such treatment, at any rate 
at certain periods. In the case of Cartularies, Bishops' Registers, and the like, the 
procedure was common ; if only for the convenience of having more than one scribe 
at work copying at a time. The procedure of an age when ready-made books were 
more common has not been much investigated, but there is no doubt that here, too 
(in the seventeenth century for instance), examples of binding after writing occur. 
Professor Pollard has raised the point in connexion with the Journals of the House of 
Lords (Royal Hist. Soc. Transactions, 3rd Series, viii, pp. 17 ^ seq.). It is to be 
noted that in such a case the smallest details may be of value as evidence : for 
example the presence or absence of drying ' sand ' (liberally used by the seven- 
teenth-century scribe at the back of the leaves, where they are sewn in binding) 
might seriously affect our opinion as to whether a book was bound before or 
after writing — a reflection which emphasizes the need for great care in repairing 


documents on a file, the odd sheets inserted in a book, 1 
the enclosures to a letter, even the pages of a bound volume 
are all subject in different degrees to misplacement or loss in 
just the same way as separate documents. It would seem then 
that they must all come into the scheme of numbering, but in 
such a way as to make clear their subordination to the file, 
volume or other single document to which, or in which, they 
are attached, inserted, or enclosed. This can best be done by 
the use of sub-numbers. Our Rules then will be : 

that every single document has an individual number ; 

that every volume or file has a single number and in addition 
sub-numbers for the leaves or membranes composing 


that every document attached or inserted after the making of 

the file, &c, in which it is included, 2 has the same number 

as that which it follows, plus a sub-number or letter ; 

provided its posthumous character is undoubted. 

It follows that in some cases a second sub-number will be 

necessary. Thus page 40 of a volume whose accession number 

is 1 1 may have a schedule attached to it : they will be numbered 

1 1 : 40A and 1 1 : 40B respectively. The Archivist may, of 

course, substitute Arabic or Roman numerals or any other 

form he likes for the letter of the alphabet ; but there must 

be something. 

It should be (but to judge by experience is not) unnecessary 
to point out that it is not enough to give a sub-number to one 
of two documents having the same superior number : thus, 
in the instance given, the two documents must not be 

original files or volumes. Another point in connexion with early bindings is noted 
above (d). 

1 A good example of the possibilities of loose sheets inserted in books is furnished 
by Sir John Laughton's evidence as to inserted papers in Admiralty Logs (Royal 
Commission, First Report, iii. 180). Certain classes of Departmental Records in England 
(especially personal Registers in the War Office and the like) are very liable to have 
insertions of this kind, and unless they are treated as is here suggested it is never pos- 
sible to say whether traces of a missing one are to be put down to administrative action 
in the past or to subsequent accident or theft. 

2 The object of this rule is to avoid the use of A and B so far as possible. Provided 
that it has every appearance of being contemporary woi^c it will be found necessary 
in practice to treat the volume or file made up of single pieces (for example, 


distinguished as 1 1 : 40 and 11 : 40 : A (or 1 1 : 40 : i.) (01 11 : 
40*) ; because 40 by itself does not imply that there are any 
other forties. 

It is to be noted that this sub-numbering applied to leaves 
or membranes may be very generally preserved unaltered to 
serve as a foliation, the most convenient form of reference for 
students. The insertion of sub-numbers should therefore be 
on the front only of leaves or membranes. The same foliation 
should be used for files or volumes subsequently made up 
out of individual documents. Original files or volumes will 
be distinguished by the insertion of a note (as suggested above) 
from those of later creation and will also be marked by the 
fact that the latter will have been re-foliated. 

Until some such numbering work as the above has been 
undertaken, it is not, we must repeat, 1 safe for either the 
Archivist or the Public to be allowed to deal further with 
the documents. It will be objected that the process is too 
elaborate : this objection is founded on the fact that stamping 
is generally done without method 2 and without the best 

letters received) as an ' original ' volume, &c, and to number its leaves or membranes 
accordingly ; insertions, to be numbered as such, in a volume, &c, of this kind 
will only be those which were clearly added to it after its original make up. Because, 
therefore, seven pages in an ' original ' volume of State Papers consist of one main letter 
and six others originally placed under the same cover, it is not to be supposed that 
these are all to have the same folio number. They are actually separate leaves of the 
original volume and should be numbered separately, from i to 7 accordingly. The 
same rule is to be observed in numbering the file or volume made up out of separate 
documents in modern times. 

1 An example of the necessity of calling the attention even of the professional 
Archivist to the importance of this point is furnished by the Official Notes on . . . 
Arranging . . . (already cited), published by the Library of Congress, the author of 
which remarks (p. 5) that ' where papers are received in a confused mass, having been 
pawed over and tossed about until all semblance of an order is lacking much of the 
preliminary and time-consuming work can be performed by less expert hands before 
the undivided attention of the Archivist is necessary ' : proposing apparently no 
precautions at all in such a case. Upon this passage it need only be remarked that 
there is no congeries of apparently disordered documents so chaotic that it may not 
prove to contain the remains of an important previous arrangement ; and that the task 
of preliminary examination (much more the sorting) of such a mass is one of the most 
difficult which the most skilled Archivist could undertake. 

2 For example, it is not generally recognized that three men working together in 
an organized fashion can do more stamping than three working separately or one 
working three times as long. 


apparatus : both are well worth securing and a certain amount 
of extra time is well worth spending. Moreover, it is to be 
noted that this first numeration is not highly skilled work ; 
it does not necessitate reading, for example, in any case. A 
modification, however, might be introduced by which sub- 
numbering, the searching of volumes for loose leaves, and so 
forth, should be a second stage, to be entered on only when 
any particular Archive was required for the first time for 
research. But this is a compromise, which it is desirable to 
avoid if possible. 

In any case, and at whatever stage it is done, the Ac- 
cession Numbering serves only the one purpose and is 

(h) First Packing. The documents having undergone their 
first checking, numbering, and stamping, it will probably be 
necessary to pack them away temporarily : and economy will 
sometimes demand that they should be in an order quite 
different from that of their first numeration ; or indeed of any 
other numeration which could be given to them. Saving 
always the rules as to keeping intact original files, &C., 1 there is 
no reason why this demand should not be met ; but since 
numbers to be used for the production of the documents when 
required must necessarily follow their packing order, this 
cannot be done without the addition of a second numeration. 
This more or less temporary ' packing numeration ', however, 
can be quite a simple affair compared with the other, because 
fresh sub-numbers in the case of original volumes and files 
will not be necessary. 

Methods of packing must of course depend upon circum- 
stances and exact rules cannot be laid down. We have already 
suggested certain methods of packing deeds, rolls, loose papers 
&c. : 2 and the choice of these or of other methods must be 
left to the Archivist. Naturally his decision to spend much 
labour at this stage on (for example) filing loose papers will 
be influenced by the probability of such work remaining 
undisturbed when the documents undergo, later, their final 

1 See above division (d) of this section. 2 Above, Part II, § 5 (/). 


arrangement : but in any case it is to be noted that documents, 
though separately accessioned, if they are now combined in 
a larger unit, will no longer have an individual numeration 
but be sub-numbered. 

The Packing Numbers should be distinguished carefully from 
the Accession Numbers (as we have already noted) by the 
use of some special device of colour, placing or material l : and 
a Key List should be drawn up, working both ways, to equate 
the two systems. Where the packing order does not differ 
from the order of accession the same numbers will occur in 
both systems ; but as we suggested before it is as well to add 
the fresh numeration even when the numbers are the same, 
since they are to be marked in a distinct manner. 

The principles on which packed documents should be 
numbered may be made more clear by a concrete example ; 
which will be possible when we have dealt with Arrangement 
and Classification below. So far we have mentioned only group 
numbers and individual or sub-numbers ; but it is clear that, 
above these, we shall require in large Archives at least one 
more division ; if only for the sake of creating a numeration 
which will be easy to handle. Before, however, we come to 
Arrangement there are one or two other matters, subsidiary but 
of importance. 

(i) The Alteration of References. It seems certain that, ulti- 
mately, packing must to some extent be parallel to arrange- 
ment and classification : so far as it can be done both safely 
and conveniently it is a good thing to pack in the same receptacle 
or near to each other documents which are related. But 
between the preliminary checking and numbering with which 
we have been dealing, and the final arrangement which will 
bring to light such relationship, there may often be a consider- 
able lapse of time, and during this time some preliminary scheme 
of packing will probably have to be adopted ; during this time 
also it may be necessary to ' produce ' the document for 

1 See above § 6 (e). If accessioning is entirely done by means of numerator stamps 
we can get the desired distinction by using pencil writing for all subsequent internal 
numbering (foliation, &c.) and stick-on or tie-on labels (see above § 5 (;)) for external 


research purposes. Two things result : first, that there will be 
an alteration of references (i. e. Packing Numbers) ; and, 
second, that the student who has made notes of documents will 
find that these notes no longer produce what he wants. 

The question of changed references engaged a good deal of 
the attention of the late Royal Commission on Public Records 
in England, 1 many witnesses denouncing the practice of making 
alterations. There is, however, a distinction, which was not 
brought out in the Report, between changes which are a real 
and serious danger to the Archives and changes which are 
troublesome to the Historian or other student — two quite 
different matters. The first of these results — danger to the 
Archives — only occurs when the old reference is the sole indica- 
tion of the former history of the document and is destroyed or 
obscured ; and under the rules here enunciated this danger is 
avoided, because the history of the document is preserved by the 
other number — the Accession Number, which is never done 
away with — not by the Packing Number, which relates to 
nothing but the document's place on the shelves. Under these 
circumstances the changing of references may be regarded as 
perfectly legitimate — up to a point ; that is to say until the final 
arrangements of the documents has been made in the manner 
detailed below. After this it should never occur ; before it, there 
is always the valid excuse that a student who sees documents 
before they are completely arranged is allowed to do so only 
under reservations. In any case the student's difficulties can 
be met by the construction of a Key List equating the old 
references and the new ; which should always be made. As an 
extra safeguard old written or stamped numbers should be 
struck through only (not obliterated or erased) and old labels 

(j) The Archivist's Notes. We have had occasion to allude 
more than once to the usefulness, or in many cases necessity, 
of notes on a document, made by the Archivist. Such notes 
occur in all periods and frequently give most valuable informa- 
tion — a typical one by Agarde has already been quoted. They 

1 See its First Report (1912). 


may be of general Archive interest, as for example one descrip- 
tive of the effect upon the Common Pleas Records of the floods 
which followed the Great Fire ; x but those which chiefly 
concern us are such as preserve record of a particular incident 
in the career of a particular document. The Archivist is rather 
liable to make such notes, if he does make them, without 
attention to any particular rules ; and one or two points are 
therefore worth mentioning. In the first place such notes 
should be made frequently ; i. e. whenever anything has 
occurred which might conceivably alter the character of the 
document ; for example, if it has been detached from another, 
if it sustained a tear which went through the writing and could 
not be entirely made good by repair, if it has been transcribed 
by a student and printed in full, 2 if an unexpected contemporary 
copy has turned up in some other collection, if it has been 
suddenly found to be incomplete, and so forth. Next, these 
notes have little value unless authenticated by date and signa- 
ture (needless to say no one save the Archivist himself should 
make them) ; and they should be of a permanent character. 
Finally they should not, as a rule, be made on the document 
itself, but on a slip attached to it. In any case the greatest care 
must be taken that they run no risk of being mistaken at any 
time for part of the original document. Thus pencil marks of 
any kind on a modern document are most unsafe and should 
be forbidden ; if this is not done the value of genuine con- 
temporary alterations or additions in pencil will be gravely 
compromised. This point was well illustrated by an example 
recently observed where the Archive consisted of a printed map 
of North America, dated 1763, with boundaries of the Indian 
territories marked in ink and pencil* Obviously the smallest 
suspicion of a possibility of subsequent pencil markings on this 
would rob it of half its value. Modern departmental Archives 
in England (such as those of the War Office) are particularly 

1 In the contemporary Index to the Notes of Fines at the Record Office (vol. xxv, 
note immediately before Michaelmas 18 Charles II). 

2 See on this point again below, Part II, § 9. 

3 Among the Treasury Archives (T. 1/476). 


liable to have pencilled notes upon them and afford many 
examples of the need for great care in this matter. 1 

(k) Archive Arrangement : its Object. We have now done 
our utmost to safeguard our Archives against the result of any 
mistake, and can proceed to develop them with a satisfactory 
feeling that if our line of proceeding is wrong the error should 
not at least be irreparable. Whether they are in good order, or 
in bad, or in none, we shall still require to arrange them : not 
yet, it is to be observed, to index them for the subject-matter 
they contain, but to marshal them in such a way that the 
Archive significance of every document — its own nature and its 
relation to its neighbours — is brought out as clearly as possible. 
In this way we give the fairest opportunity to the Archive of 
saying what it has to say and to the student of understanding 
and profiting. 

(/) Arrangement : Chief Principle. If by our account of the 
Evolution and Transmission of Archives we have accomplished 
anything, we should have made it clear that the only correct basis 
of Arrangement is exposition of the Administrative objects which the 
Archives originally served ; we need hardly stop therefore to say 
that such a basis cannot be found in the subject interests they 
may possess for modern students, 2 in chronology, or even in 
the form in which they are cast. 

Provenance, that word being taken to mean the place from 
which Archives come, may detain us a little longer ; but the 
case of the Treasury of Receipt (the Class Exchequer T. R. at the 
Public Record Office) should suffice to show that it forms no 
true basis for arrangement. What Archives the Treasury of the 

1 For example, a confidential report on operations in America will be found among the 
Colonial Office Records (CO. 5/96). A considerable part of the significance of this 
document is due to certain passages (concerning the number of scalps collected by the 
Indians, and so forth) being ringed round with pencil and marked ' omit '. 

2 Muller, Feith, and Fruin dwell at some length (Sections 10, 15, 16, and 19) on 
this matter, instancing the harm done by the subject arrangement to which French 
and Belgian national Archives were at one time submitted : which we in England can 
parallel from the work of our own ' methodizers '. The principle here adopted, called 
by the French le respect pour les fonds and by the Germans Provenienzprinzip, was first 
laid down in France by the Ministerial Circular of 1841, for which de Wailly was 
responsible and to which we have already referred : it is now almost everywhere 



Receipt contained in its four Treasuries (the contents of which 
were eventually deposited in the Chapter House from which 
they came to the Record Office) is indicated by Agarde's 
Compendium. 1 They comprised specimens of almost every kind 
of public document, including large quantities of Legal Records 
and (it will be remembered) a considerable number of Receipt 
and Issue Rolls. Certain archives which it is difficult to ascribe 
with certainty to any particular court are still classed as 
Exchequer T. R. y but the bulk have gone to rejoin other archives 
of the various courts to which they belong. Had they been 
classed according to the place from which they came the collec- 
tion would have been almost as ridiculous and unmeaning as 
would the present Contents of the Public Record Office if, some 
centuries hence, the Patent Rolls of Chancery, the Plea Rolls of 
the Court of Common Pleas, the Pipe Rolls of the Exchequer, 
and the rest, were all confounded together in one collection 
labelled Master of the Rolls Department. 

The place, then, from which Archives are received should 
be a matter recorded by their Accession Numbers and the 
Accession Register ; and may serve as a temporary class 
heading for the unidentified ; but is not to be used normally 
to supply their primary division. That is provided by the 
Administration which produced them. 

(m) Arrangement : Procedure. This will fall clearly into 
two parts : the first, study of the Administrations concerned, 
their history and organization ; the second, division of the 
Archives into Classes, subdivision of these, and again sub- 
division. Touching the first of these, however, we may remark 
that the study of Administration, though partly achieved from 
external sources, can never be divorced entirely from the study 
of the Archives : one goes in this matter in a curious circular 
fashion ; for the Archives cannot be understood without 
a knowledge of the Administration which produced them, and 

1 Palgrave, Antient Inventories, vol. ii, already quoted. On the regular transmission of 
Archives to this Repository in early times (the thirteenth century), see ibid, i, pp. xxxviii, 
xlii, and lviii. It seems clear that Stapleton (c. 1320) took a considerable part in regula- 
rizing its position as a Record Office (ibid., p. xvii), and it continued in active use up 
to the last year of George II (ibid., p. xl). 


the history and development of that Administration is often 
written in the Archives ; so that the process is simply that 
known as puzzling it out. 1 

With regard to the second part, the division of the Archives ; 
since what we wish to do in order to comprehend them is to 
put ourselves in the position of the men who compiled them, 
our object will clearly be to establish or re-establish the original 
arrangement ; even if, when we look at it, we think we could 
have done better ourselves. 

(n) Arrangement : Slip-making. The making of a slip for 
every document is the first step in arrangement. Original 
volumes and files may be treated each on a single slip, but those 
which are the result of the work of an Archivist predecessor 2 
whose arrangement is to be revised, will require very careful 
scrutiny before they can be treated in that way ; so careful 
that it will probably lose us little if any time to make slips of 
every individual document in them at the outset. 

Each slip will show, when completed, in some arranged 

the present reference (packing number) of the document ; 
its date or covering date ; 3 
state of repair of the document ; and 
sufficient description (but no more) to identify its con- 
tents, material and make-up and the number of its 
membranes or leaves. 
To the above, coming all from an examination of the docu- 
ment itself, must be added 

the Administrative division to which the document belongs. 

1 The history, for example, of the Medieval Exchequer of Receipt (see App. V (i) 
would best be made out, if it had to be done again, by starting in the middle when the 
procedure was fairly clear and working backwards and forwards, so far as the docu- 
ments are concerned : its case furnishes also an average example of the amount 
of information which may be expected from outside sources ; but is, of course, 
complicated by an unusual amount of past confusion, destruction of references and 
old lists, and so forth. 

2 See above, Part II, § i (»). 

3 Muller, Feith, and Fruin (§§ 84 et seqq.) lay down rules for securing a standard 
usage with regard to this and other matters. We have not tried to make English 
conform to Continental methods for the reasons given above (Part I, § 7) ; but it is hardly 
necessary to say that the Archivist must have for himself and his office a uniform practice. 
See below (pp. 129, 130) some further remarks on this subject in another connexion. 


This, according to the state in which the document came to 
hand, will be obtained either from external sources or again 
from examination ; it may be simply added in the form of some 
distinguishing number, letter, or mark, to the reference already 
on the slip. And here we may remark that it will be convenient, 
though not essential, to have on the slip the Accession Number 
of the document as well as its reference. 

Finally, the slip will contain any available information as to 
the relation of the document to others. This, according to 
circumstances and the methods employed by the Archivist, 
may take the form of a number, a mark, a note, or a cross- 

(o) Arrangement : the Vertical Divisions of Archives. The 
distinction on the slip of the Archive Division to which each 
document belongs is the first stage in Arrangement, and our 
introduction to the most difficult part of that task. These 
Divisions are, so to speak, the vertical lines which split up the 
whole mass of Archives in a Repository. In the case of the 
Public Record Office they are represented by the various Courts 
(the Chancery, the Exchequer, and so forth) under which 
medieval Archives are grouped and the Departments (Admiralty, 
Home Office, and the like) which supersede or are added to 
these in modern times. The Archive Group thus established is 
what the French call a Fonds. 1 Here we meet with our first diffi- 
culty ; for the French definition limits the true, ' autonomous,' 
fonds somewhat rigidly by the nature of the Archives it contains ; 
and on the other hand we find our Exchequer, for example, 
dividing into a number of special departments — the Exchequer 
proper or Upper Exchequer, the Exchequer of Receipt, the 
Exchequer of Pleas, the Augmentation Office, the Office of First 
Fruits and Tenths, the Land Revenue Department, and the late 
and short-lived Controller General's Department; and the 
Upper Exchequer splits again quite early into the two depart- 
ments of Preliminary and Final Audit — those of the King's 

1 The definition given by Muller, Feith, and Fruin (referred to again below) contains 
some of the points already made here in our definitions of Archives and Documents 
(above, Part I, § 2), and in the section on Archive Evolution (Part II, § 1). 


Remembrancer and the Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer. Does 
the Upper Exchequer, then, imply one fonds, or two, or three ? 
Similarly in the case of the Exchequer of Receipt x we see in turn 
single, triplicate and again double systems flourishing : are we 
to hold that the Treasurer (or his Deputy), the two Chamber- 
lains, and later the Auditor each created & fonds ? or are all four 
merely dependent functionaries of a single one ? Clearly we 
shall have to offer some kind of definition of our Archive Group. 

(p) The ' Fonds ' or Archive Group : Definition. The fonds is 
the chief Archive Unit in the Continental system and the basis 
of all rules as to arrangement. The most important of all prin- 
ciples of Archive Management is named from it le respect pour les 
fonds. We shall not, therefore, be wasting our time if we devote 
a little of it to discussing the definition applied by the Manuel 
to this word and the way in which that definition affects us. 

The Authors tell us 2 that a fonds is an organic whole and 
that any Administration, or one or more of its fonctionnaires, 
can create a fonds d' archives provided that these include resolu- 
tions or proces-verbaux ; the inclusion of Archives of such a type 
making it autonome. Roughly speaking, we may take it that 
they would make the qualities of a fonds a" archives depend on 
its including those which, when the administration which 
created it was active, constituted the final authority for execu- 
tive action. For our purposes we may do better perhaps to 
represent this quality in terms of Administration rather than 
terms of documents, the forms of which, as we shall see later, 
are not necessarily constant. Fonds we may render, for lack 
of a better translation, Archive Group, and define this as the 
Archives resulting from the work of an Administration 3 which 
was an organic whole, complete in itself capable of dealing inde- 
pendently, without any added or external authority, with every side of 
any business which could normally be presented to it. This, it may 

1 A PP . v. (i). 

2 Muller, Feith, and Fruin, § i, and following sections, and § 55. 

3 Notice that nothing need be said of the size of the Administration — whether it 
consisted of one man or twenty — nor of its origin — whether it was created by, e. g., 
a statute or merely grew out of circumstances : such facts not affecting our present 
purpose. This takes us back to our original very catholic definition of Archives in 
Part I of the present work. 


be said, is to make the Archive Group a division much wider, 
much less strictly defined than the Fonds. But it is so in 
appearance only. To take a modern instance, it would 
obviously be absurd to deny to the Archives of many of the 
Departments of the English War Office, 1 as it was constituted 
during the War, the independent arrangement to which the 
undoubted executive independence of those departments en- 
titles them ; just as (in a case we have already seen) we have 
been obliged to treat Departments of the Exchequer such as 
those of the King's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer as separate 
Archive Groups : they are, as it were, fonds within fonds. The 
Authors of the Manuel meet such cases by allowing to the 
Archives of Commissions the status of fonds under certain 
conditions, whereas we have here referred to all alike as 
Archive Groups — a very slight divergence. We may, in point 
of fact, find it advisable to give a separate name — such as 
Division — to those Groups which are divided off from a larger 
one ; but even if this is not done our difference from the Foreign 
Authorities amounts to no more than that our system gives 
a little more latitude in individual cases. It is a difference, in 
fact, of point of view, not of principle ; and the fundamental 
rule of arrangement, the respect pour les fonds, remains, of 
course, untouched — whatever else we do we must not break up 
the Archive Group. 

(q) Where one series of Archives is divided between two Archive 
Groups. So far we have dealt with the results which follow when 
an Administration is split up and delegates its functions to 'Com- 
missions ', the Archive Groups being multiplied in proportion. 
But sometimes we have the opposite case where a single function 
and a single series of Archives apparently belongs to more than 
one Archive Group. 2 Thus the Archives of the First Fruits and 
Tenths Office, as we have already seen, 3 were taken over with 
some existing functions by the Commissioners of Queen Anne's 

1 For other examples of such independent or quasi-independent departments see 
the Royal Commission (1910), Second Report, i, pp. n-13, 50-53, and 87. 

2 This case is not considered separately by Muller, Feith, and Fruin ; it is, however, 
of considerable importance on occasion. 

3 See above, Part II, § 2 (b). 


Bounty, who continued the series of Archives known as Bishops' 
Certificates : similarly the Records and Functions of the Court 
of Common Pleas and other legal Courts were taken over by the 
Supreme Court of Judicature 1 and, once again, some of the series 
of Records continued ; and the same thing occurred when the 
Controller General of the Exchequer took over the Exchequer 
of Receipt 2 in 1 834. When in due time the Archivist takes 
over the documents in such cases, what should be done with 
series which begin under one Administration and end under 
another ? especially when each of these two Administrations 
formed an Archive Group of otherwise quite distinct series ? 
It seems quite clear that the Archivist's only plan in such a 
case if he wishes to avoid confusion is to class the Archives 
separately under the Administrations which actually created 
them, even though this means breaking up a single series 
between two Archive Groups. A proper system of cross- 
reference will leave no doubt as to what has occurred ; 
and if this were not done a much worse situation might arise 
in which the Archives of a single Administration were partly 
classed under its own name and partly under that of another. 

A word of warning is needed in this connexion. The proce- 
dure here recommended applies to the case where the Archives 
of one Department have been taken over by another simply 
from the point of view of custody ; and to that case only. Where 
Archives compiled originally in one Administrative connexion 
become later involved in a fresh administrative action they 
naturally become Archives of this second Administration. Thus 
we saw that what started by being a cartulary of the Abbey of 
Chertsey has come down to us as an exhibit in a suit in the 
Court of Exchequer. Many private muniments, as we pointed 
out above, 3 become in some such way Public Archives and will 
naturally be classed accordingly : to take one more example, 

1 Above, p. 33. 2 See App. V (i) (m). 

3 See above, Part II, § 2 (e). It is necessary to emphasize this point because since 
the above passage was written it has become evident, from a paper read to the 
Royal Historical Society (October 1920) by Dr. Redlich, of the Viennese Archives, 
that in the stress of restitution and re-arrangement of Archives as a result of territorial 
redistribution following on War, the doctrine may be advanced that Archives belong 
in the place or office in which they originated. It needs only a few minutes' thought 


the Records of the Wardrobe have mostly come down to us not 
as Archives of that Department but as vouchers to accounts in 
the Exchequer. An Archive belongs to the last Administration 
in which it played an active part. 

(r) Arrangement within the Archive Group : Accepted Theories 
and some Difficulties. So far our statement of the problems of 
Archive arrangement has reached to the initial necessity of 
sorting out our whole collection — what in French would be 
called the Depot d' Archives — into Archive Groups or Fonds, 
and possibly Sub-Groups. We have now to deal with the 
problems of arrangement within these. Towards this object 
we have at present one contribution — the fact that our aim 
must be to get back to the original order designed for our 
Archives by their compilers, the ordre primitif ; which of 
course was based, generally speaking, upon the administrative 
divisions of the period. This being so, the first step is obviously 
to separate off series from documents which so far as can be 
seen have never formed part of a series — pieces isolees. Up to 
this point we are in complete agreement with the Authors of 
the Manuel ; we may go further with them in saying that if or 
when the contemporary organization of administration differs 
in any respect from that of the Archives, the Archive arrange- 
ment must have first consideration with us ; it is quite true that 
Administration may have had divisions and subdivisions into 
which archive organization did not follow it : in such circum- 

to show the absurdity of such a suggestion. Under it documents made in one office 
and subsequently forwarded (as vouchers for example) to another would have to be 
returned to the first : nay, letters received must be sent back to the Archives of their 
sender. Local Archives may legitimately demand to have returned to them, if they 
have been taken away, the Archives of some purely local Administration ; but let 
them not be so foolish as to expect Central Archives to be dismembered in order that 
they may become possessors of a few documents merely because these have a local 
(topographical) interest or a partial local connexion. 

The only doubtful cases arise when transfers have not been made for genuine administra- 
tive reasons. If a change of Government (whether violent or pacific) leads to a transfer 
of documents from one Government centre to another for bona fide administrative uses 
should they later be regarded as proper subjects for 'restoration ' ? The answer is definitely 
' No '. But if a Napoleon carries off as loot the Archives of a conquered territory should 
not more equable times bring about the return of these ? The answer is almost certainly 
1 Yes ' ; not only in this but also in less extreme cases of a similar kind. At the moment 
of writing (1937) a curious illustration is furnished by the proposal to restore to Scotland 
some documents taken from it by Edward I ! 


stances nothing is to be gained from a modern attempt to force 
the Archives into complete agreement with the administrative 
scheme ; since we only wish to put our Archives back into 
the state in which contemporary needs obliged them to be 
kept ; there might always be administrative activities which 
are not represented in documents. 

After this point, however, we find ourselves, with great 
diffidence, raising certain difficulties in connexion with the 
accepted continental theory of arrangement. Thus the Authors 
of the Manuel insist strongly 1 upon the necessity for a scheme 
of arrangement under which all original Archive series go to 
form the skeleton of modern classification ; they are its lignes 
principales : and going further the Authors envisage a classifica- 
tion under which a single ligne capitale (a single series consisting 
normally of Resolutions but conceivably of other Archive types) 
forms the backbone of that frame which the Archivist, after 
the fashion of a palaeontologist reconstructing the skeleton of 
a prehistoric animal, is to build up. All other Archives will, of 
course, be subsidiary to these main series. 

This arrangement, which may be expressed in English by 
a division of the Archive Group into the Main Record on the one 
hand and subsidiary classes on the other, is an excellent method 
which, when it will work, displays Archives to the greatest 
possible advantage. An admirable example of it might be taken 
from the Archives of the English Chancery. 

Suppose, for example, 2 that in the fourteenth century an 
Abbey required a confirmation of certain charters. It sent up 
these muniments with a petition which was presented to the 
King or his secretary, who forwarded it with a letter under the 
privy seal to the Chancellor instructing him to view the charters 
and make out the confirmation. The Chancellor, after viewing 
the originals, made out a draft confirmation which was handed 
to the engrossing clerk, who made out the required charter and 
handed the draft to the Clerk of the Enrolments and the fair 
copy to the Clerk of the Hanaper. The first of these made 

1 Muller, Feith, and Fruin, §§ 20 et seqq. 

2 I was indebted to my late colleague, Mr. C. G. Crump for the suggestion of 
this example. 


a copy on the Charter Roll and the second saw to the sealing of 
the charter and the payment of the necessary fine which he 
entered in his Accounts. So the Charter went away to the 
Muniment Room of the Abbey. The Chancery was left with 
a copy on the Charter Roll (its main record) and (i) a letter of 
privy seal on the file of warrants for the great seal ; (2) the 
petition of the Abbey which should be in the same place ; (3) 
a draft for the charter which should be found, if it survived, on 
one of the Miscellaneous Files : all these being subsidiary to the 
enrolment. The Hanaper Account went away to be a subsidiary 
record elsewhere (in the Exchequer). 

Now it is true that we have seen in this instance the classifi- 
cation of original series as * principal lines ' and one of them as 
the ' Main Record ', while the loose documents fall into rank 
as subsidiaries — we have seen this classification working admir- 
ably. We cannot, however, be satisfied that this, in the 
capacity of a model for Archive arrangement, will invariably 
give satisfaction. What of the case where no original series, or 
at any rate no Main Record, can be found in what is yet an 
important archive group ? To carry on the metaphor from 
Palaeontology employed by its Authors, the Manuel does not 
seem to provide for the case of the invertebrate. 

Let us examine for a moment the method of Archive-making 
employed, for example, in many modern Public Offices in 
England. 1 Here the custom is at present to keep in a cover, 
known sometimes as a 'jacket ', all papers relating to a particu- 
lar case, a particular piece of business, or a series of small cases 
of the same kind. This jacket then includes original letters 
received, copies of letters dispatched, memoranda of the official 
who dealt with the business at each successive stage, and even 
minutes of superior authority or information derived from 
other departments of the same office. Impossible to split those 
up into series 2 of letters, minutes, memoranda, &c, for the 
reference from one to another is generally by citation merely of 

1 At the time of writing (1920) this method had just been adopted in one Division of 
the Supreme Court (the King's Bench). 

2 Cp. Muller, Feith, and Fruin, § 29. 


their numerical order in the ' jacket ' ; equally impossible to 
distinguish between the work of superior and inferior officials 
at different stages of the transaction because both will use the 
same minute sheet. 

This case gives us our most concrete but by no means our 
only difficulty. Even where the Archives can (as is, indeed, 
generally the case among the more ancient Archive Collections) 
be divided up into series and pieces isolees we are met only too 
frequently by the difficulty which results from what Professor 
Tout has called the fluidity of medieval institutions. Archive 
series which we have classed in our minds as ' main ' and 
' subordinate ' or ' draft ' and ' final ' change places with 
bewildering frequency and in the most casual manner : a series 
which in its early days contained everything there was to be 
said upon a certain branch of administration, when examined 
at a later stage proves to be the merest shell continued simply 
because it is no one's interest to stop it ; a subsidiary series 
throws off (but at what point no one can say) another, 1 which 
in due time becomes of the most obviously £ main ' character ; 
documents which have been scattered casually and only inter- 
mittently preserved assume without warning the proportions 
of a carefully kept series. 2 In fine, any system of arrangement 
which depends upon the distinction between Archives which 
formed original series and those which did not caters only for 
evolved Archives, not for those in a state of evolution ; and in 
this country, at any rate, the stages of evolution were spread in 
some cases over centuries. To make the system apply to 
Archives in their evolutionary stages would necessitate a review 
of our previous observations at frequent intervals in the light of 
fresh developments in the structure of the Archives in question ; 
and a fresh start each time in the matter of classification. 

Reconstruct from an examination of surviving Archive 
series the skeleton of the thirteenth-century Exchequer ; you 
have no doubt a most accurate piece of work : put this forward 

1 For example, the Exchequer of Pleas Plea Rolls, which were almost certainly split 
off from the Memoranda Rolls of the Exchequer. 

2 For many examples of the gradual evolution of Archive classes see the earlier 
sections on Differentiation (above, Part II, § i). 


as representing the sixteenth or even the fifteenth-century 
Exchequer, and you will be merely misleading : yet the Pipe 
Roll series, the backbone of your thirteenth-century Exchequer, 
is still a flourishing Archive series in the later period. 

The trouble here is not that the system of arrangement 
based on a distinction between original series and isolated 
documents goes too far, but that it does not go far enough. Its 
authors, we may suggest (since we are venturing on criticism), 
are quite right in saying that the system of arrangement should 
aim at reconstructing and displaying the primitive organism 
whose remains we are considering ; but is that a thing which 
their system is capable of doing ? in point of fact it cannot be 
relied upon in all cases to produce this result ; and if it does not 
it will leave the student as confused as ever. 

(s) Arrangement : another suggestion. Since then our troubles 
are mainly due to the difficulty of dealing with Archives 
whose organization is still in a state of evolution, we may suggest 
that it would be better to give up any idea of arranging them 
upon a scheme which presupposes that this organization can 
be defined once and for all ; and go back to our study of the 
Evolution of Archives in order to find out how far we may lay 
down rules or principles for their detailed arrangement. And 
in the first place we may ask — is there anything in the modern 
fashion of making Archives which should exclude them from 
the operation of general rules as to Archive treatment ? After 
all modern Archives still consist — must still consist — of the 
same three varieties of documents as the older collections. 

The answer is that such Archives should present no difficulty. 
It will be remembered that differentiation of separate classes 
from a bulky ' Miscellanea ' class took place for various reasons ; 
primitively (we suggested) because a number of documents were 
about the same size and shape ; but also because they dealt 
with the same business ; or again because they dealt with the 
same class of business and were therefore cast in the same form. 
The medieval administrators, extremely devoted to form, 
differentiated chiefly on the last of these three grounds, and 
have left us enormous series of documents all of the same kind — 


Rolls of Letters Patent, Rolls of Charters, Rolls of Accounts, 
Rolls of Pleadings at Law, Registers of Muniments, Files of 
Inquisitions, Files of Warrants, and the rest. The post-Medieval 
period, following the tradition, though it had broken away from 
many of the forms, kept its Proceedings and the copies of its 
Out-Letters in Minute and Entry Books, but left a large part 
of its In-Letters (the State Papers) in a ' Miscellanea ' condition 
from which many of them were not drawn till they came into 
the hands of the ' Methodizers ' who arranged them under 
headings interesting to the later Historian. The Modern 
Administrator, helped by Typewriters and Transfer-papers 
which make the taking of copies easy, by the modern facilities 
of transit for minute papers, and by the invention of card- 
indexing which enables a working index to be kept continually 
up to date, has simply gone back to the old system of a common 
stock of Miscellanea differentiated out into numerous files on 
the basis of subjects — the subjects with which his office is 
dealing : he may or may not, by means of the references given 
to the files or jackets, differentiate them again into classes of 
business done corresponding roughly with the functional 
divisions of the office. But all that has happened in this 
apparent revolution in administrative methods is that the 
modern administrator or business man has gone back to the 
more primitive varieties of Archive making. We shall have 
more to say upon this point when we come to consider the 
question of the Archives of the future. For our present purpose 
we have only to note once more that any system of arrangement 
which we may devise cannot be satisfactory if it does not 
contain a place for these very simple Archives. 

(t) Arrangement : Class Headings. In Appendix V (ii) we 
have worked out in the form of a Chart the Records of the 
process of Issue at the Exchequer of Receipt ; and have 
demonstrated without difficulty that the attempt to arrange 
them in accordance with the ' Main Record ' formula inevitably 
breaks down because of their fluid and changing character. It is 
in fact quite clear that we must resign any attempt, in the case 
of this portion of the Exchequer of Receipt (and the Depart- 


ment as a whole merely presents an enlargement of the same 
problem) , to make of any one series a main line to which all the 
rest might be regarded as subordinate. On the other hand we 
have here undoubtedly a large number of original series which 
must form the basis of any arrangement of the Archives. The 
difficulty is to see any way in which they can be combined so as 
to represent an orderly sequence, an organic whole. Placed on 
paper in any order under the heading ' Exchequer of Receipt — 
Liberate Rolls, Issue Rolls, and Original Writs ' they appear 
merely as a confusing succession of experiments. What is the 
best plan for arranging them and is it one which can be laid 
down in the form of a general principle governing the making 
of all Inventories of Archives ? 

We may venture to claim that the Archive series we have 
chosen for illustration, complicated as they are, do appear in 
our chart as bearing some relation to each other and as playing 
intelligible parts in an intelligible whole. As we have said 
before, the use of the chart is not practicable on a large scale ; 
and it is possible that it may be more difficult, in any substitute 
we can devise for the graphic method, to bring out the way in 
which series appear, break off, reappear, run parallel, supersede 
others, and so forth. But the fact that they do find their places 
in a single whole remains. It may be difficult to fit them 
together as parts of an active organism (possibly, for one thing, 
because they represent only fragments of the original body), 
but they are here collected without any difficulty or incongruity 
under a single heading. That heading — Issue — is taken from 
one of the functions of the Administration which produced 
them : i. e. we have merely carried one step farther the policy 
of grouping archives on a system which follows that of the 
Administration of which they formed a part. 1 

Now it is quite true that we must not depend upon the 
divisions of an Administration according to its functions for the 
lines upon which we divide our Archives ; 2 in this sense, that 

1 Cp. M. Cuvelier's statement of the problem in his article ' Les Archives ' in the 
Revue des Bibliotheques et des Archives en Belgique (1903) : ' qu'il faut . . . donner 
dans l'inventaire une image exacte de l'organisme ou de l'institution dont on veut faire 
connaitre les Archives.' 2 See above, division (r) of this section. 


we must not map out Administrative divisions and try to force 
our Archives into them. But if we admit that Administrative 
Functions have not always (as they certainly have not) series 
of Archives into which they refer, that is not to say that the 
converse is true. In point of fact Archive series must always 
refer into some Administrative Function, because without it 
they themselves would never have come into existence. A single 
Archive series may refer into a single function or into two or 
more, or it may refer sometimes into one and sometimes into 
another ; but refer it must into one at least. If, then, upon an 
examination of our Archive resources we decide which functions 
of the original Administration had Archive representation, we 
may proceed to utilize these Functions as headings under which 
to arrange our series (repeating a series under more than one 
heading where necessary) ; and may feel quite sure that the 
arrangement is based upon the facts of archive history. 

We have now arrived at an arrangement which may be 
summarized as follows. All the Archives in a Depot are divided 
up into Fonds or Archive Groups : within an Archive Group 
we may have Divisions : Groups or Divisions in turn are 
to be described under the Functions of the Administration which 
produced them (these Functions being used as General Headings 
for classes of documents) : the Classes themselves consist of 
Series of Archives representing the original arrangement. 

(u) Old Series, New Series, and Miscellanea. So far we have 
dealt only with the original series of Archives — the continuous 
collections of Rolls, of Registers, or of Files of documents of the 
same kind which, as we saw, it was the first duty of the Archivist 
to sort out of any collection he found it necessary to arrange. 
The completion of this, however, will leave him as a rule with 
a large quantity still of unplaced documents. From these he 
will naturally proceed to sort out any fragments of original 
series which the accidents of time or human ignorance may 
have broken up, but which he may be able to reconstruct from 
the evidence of their own nature, of other series, or of external 
facts such as the remains of an old numeration or the statements 
in a treatise : it need hardly be said that this must be done, if 


the series so formed are to be assigned the value of original ones, 
with extreme caution. This done, and finding that he has still 
a considerable number of ' unplaced ', the Archivist may, if 
the quantity of documents of an obviously similar x nature 
warrants it, and if there is nothing (such as the survival of an 
original file 2 of a more ' miscellaneous ' character) to show that 
the original compilers of the Archives deliberately kept to a less 
sophisticated arrangement — under such conditions the Archivist 
may further go on to make up from them such files or volumes 
as the original compilers might reasonably be expected to have 
made, i. e. files such that he will be able to place them beside 
the existing original ones in the arrangement already described. 
But when all this has been done our Archivist will almost 
certainly find that even so he is still left with a quantity of 
unplaceables, the ultimate part of the Ancient Miscellanea of 
which we have spoken in an earlier section. With regard to the 
treatment of these genuine isolated documents many rules 
might be laid down. 3 For one thing they must be described 
separately, piece by piece ; clearly a whole collection of them 
cannot be left with no better treatment than the description of 
' Miscellaneous ' or ' Various ' : so that we get the apparent 
anomaly that the (more important) original and regular files 
or series claim less space and attention in an Inventory than 
these c miscellaneous ' ones. Again, the Archivist should always 
remember that the fact which governs both the dating and the 
position of a document among Archives is the fact of its arrival 
at its final destination : for example, the private account 
absorbed as a voucher into Exchequer Accounts belongs to the 
year of audit at the latter so far as Archives are concerned, 
though it may have a much earlier date upon it ; similarly an 
original letter belongs to the Archives of the person or depart- 

1 Normally, documents of a dissimilar form (copies and originals, for example) 
would not get on to the same file, and though special cases may occur in original files 
the Archivist making up an artificial file should not copy this usage : cf. Muller, Feith, 
and Fruin, § 29. 

2 On the subject of the breaking up of original files see above (p. 87) division (d) 
of this section. 

3 Cf. Muller, Feith, and Fruin, §§ 26 to 28. 


merit by whom it was received, 1 or if it passed through several 
hands, the last person to whom it passed. 2 The observation of 
such elementary rules as these is of course obligatory ; but 
outside them it is better not to bind the Archivist to the employ- 
ment of any one system in his arrangement of purely miscel- 
laneous pieces isolees. So long as he destroys no Archive evidence 
he can do no harm, even if he is wrong, in arranging them 
upon the system — alphabetical, chronological, formal, or what 
not — which seems to him best adapted to the needs of the 
case. And, if we may venture to recapitulate, provided he 
observes the two simple rules already propounded — accession 
numbering and the rule that no original file, fastening, or bind- 
ing is broken up — any re-arrangement he may effect is in the 
nature of an experimental one only and cannot be dangerous. 
(v) The case of Archives misplaced or never arranged. The 
Archivist may, upon the most careful consideration, conclude 
that a document or a series of documents, found perhaps in 
definite physical connexion with a certain Archive group, 
belongs to another : for example, a Minute Book of the ' Society 
for Constitutional Information ' (a revolutionary Society of the 
late eighteenth century, whose papers were impounded by the 
Treasury for the purpose of certain Treason Trials) 3 made its 
first public appearance as African Company No. 1357 ; clearly 
through an accident due to the fact that this Company's 
Muniments also passed into the possession of the Treasury. 4 
Again the Archivist may decide that a whole section of an 
Archive Group, or possibly all its archives, represent a complete 
absence of any arrangement by the original compilers, other 
perhaps than filing in a rough chronological order. Both these 
cases raise the same question — is the Archivist ever justified in 
breaking up Original Files or a well-established original order, 5 

1 Cf. the example of a letter written by a member of the Cely family, quoted above > 
p. 84 : see also our definition of Archives and the case of Cartularies and other Archives 
quoted above, § 2 (e). 

2 Cf. the case of the petition of an Abbey instanced above, p. 105. 

3 The remainder of the Society's Archives are in the Treasury Solicitor's Papers. 
The trial for which they were used was probably that of Home Tooke in 1794. 

4 When the Company was abolished by statute in 1820. 

5 Cf. Muller, Feith, and Fruin, § 19. The suggestion of breaking up (even 


even when he is convinced that it is the result either of accident 
or of lack of design in the time of the original compilers ? and 
could he carry such procedure so far as to transfer Archives 
from one Archive group to another ? If we reply ' Yes ' we are 
clearly compromising : though the Authors of the Manuel seem 
disposed to do so it cannot be denied that the procedure goes 
against their, and our, expressed plan of preserving, even of 
reconstructing, the conditions in which the original compilers 
of the Archives thought fit to leave their documents. The 
writer's personal feeling is in favour of refusing to do more than 
to re-arrange on paper ; leaving the physical arrangement, 
where there is definite arrangement, such as a contemporary 
filing string, in the state in which we find it. At the same time 
there might conceivably be circumstances which made this 
supremely inconvenient ; for example, a really large mass of 
miscellaneous documents bearing no trace of arrangement other 
than a hasty filing or binding in no particular order, by their 
original compilers. Cases may be imagined in which the most 
conscientious Archivist would conclude that the policy of 
compromise was best. We shall perhaps do well to make no 
definite rule against such procedure, but merely to say that the 
Archivist who adopts it is taking a very grave responsibility. 
Exceptions may prove Rules, but he is a bold man who will set 
out to prove his most important Rules in that way. 

Nothing we have said here, of course, is to be taken as 
preventing an Archivist from altering, after suitable delibera- 
tion and with the precautions already described, 1 the arrange- 
ments undoubtedly due to an Archivist, his predecessor. What 
is to be guarded against is the alteration of anything done by 
the original administrator, the person or body who compiled 
the Archives : because what they did is a part of the Archive 

(w) The Making of the Inventory. We have been assuming 
all this time that the written and printed result of our arrange- 
exceptionally) original files is of course in contravention of our previously expressed 
rule : see above (pp. 87, 113) divisions (d) and (u) of this section. 

1 The precautions are those touching the preservation of old references and old lists 
and the addition of notes by the Archivist. 


merit is to be an Inventory ; by which we mean a summary 
but complete exposition on paper of the arrangement we have 
given to our Archives. The Archivist dealing with a very small 
quantity of documents might find it possible to proceed at once 
to detailed Listing or Calendaring and dispense with the 
Inventory : but in Repositories of any size, and especially those 
which have frequent fresh accruals, part at least of the detailed 
work must often be postponed for many years ; and in these 
circumstances the Inventory is an essential. 1 

(x) Final Packing and Numeration. The interests in which 
Archives are consulted and consequently the order in which 
they may be demanded varies almost infinitely ; but as they 
can only be packed and referred to in one order we shall natur- 
ally make this conform to the order of our Inventory, which is 
the Archive order. Series will generally run in something like 
uniform shapes and sizes, and therefore they will, on the whole, 
best suit the convenience of those responsible for the actual 
packing on the shelves. Where an exceedingly square class 
follows after an eminently round one such modifications as are 
necessary must be made when the documents reach the reposi- 
tory itself by means of cross references from one press to 
another, or any other convenient method. 

It may strike the Archivist as inconvenient that the classes 
within the Inventory are not arranged in such a way as to make 
it easy to pick out a single one at will. In that case the Inven- 
tory when made should be furnished with an Alphabetical Index 
of classes. 

So far we have divided up the mass of Archives with which 
we may be supposed to be dealing into : 

(i) Archive Groups labelled with the name of the Adminis- 
trative Department which produced them : say, for example, 
exchequer. We may have further : 

(ii) divisions of these representing independent administra- 
tive organizations separated off from (i) : these are labelled 
in the like manner ; for example, exchequer of receipt. 

1 The doctrine of ' Transcriptions partielles mais inventaires complets ' was first 
laid down by Moreau in 1774. 


We have then sorted out within each Group, or Division, the 
original series and the unclassified documents ; and extracted 
from the latter what we may call made series, which we set 
beside the original ones. Finally we have arranged in the 
most suitable way we can devise the still unclassified 
documents. We now proceed to review the make-up of 
documents other than files or volumes ; re-packing where 
necessary the small or loose documents which are to be 
brought together under sub-numbers in larger units. 

All our series we propose to range under Headings repre- 
senting the Administrative functions which produced them ; 
for example (taking again the Exchequer of Receipt in 
illustration) issue : within these they will fall into 

(iii) Classes, each composed of one of our original or newly- 
made series — for example, issue rolls — or possibly (where 
they are very small) of a succession of several series. One 
Class at least will be assigned to the Unclassified or Miscel- 
laneous. After this we have one more numbering for 

(iv) individual documents within the classes. These, if they 
form parts of a larger unit, will have sub-numbers, or a 
page of membrane numeration, or possibly they may require 

We have now to consider the best short reference (presumably 
numerical, or mainly so) which we can devise to represent these — 
the document's address, as it were. The Archivist has to balance 
between the inconveniencies of running numbers which mount 
up to enormous figures and the liability to confusion attendant 
on meticulous sub-division ; though the latter has the advantage 
that it facilitates the insertion of subsequent discoveries. 

By way of suggestion we put forward the following plan. 

For (i), the Group, use a name, an abbreviated name, or 
a letter : thus at the Record Office the Exchequer is E. 

For (ii), the Division, (when necessary) use the first figure 
of a three- or four-figure number : 


thus the King's Remembrancer's Division of the Exchequer 
has the numbers from 101 onwards ; the Receipt those 
from 401 : and so forth. 

For (hi), the Class, use the remaining figures of the three- 
or four-figure number already mentioned : thus the 
class of K.R., Accounts, is referred to by the number 
1 01, that of K. R., Subsidies, is 179, and so on. 

For (iv), the individual document, use another number or 
number and sub-number. 

The reference to a document in the Exchequer, K.R., Accounts 
class will thus consist of Group / Division and Class / Number I Sub- 
number and be written shortly in the form E./101/22/1 1. 
22 being the box-number and 1 1 the sub-number of the 
document. A membrane or folio number following the above 
should be preceded by the letter m. or f. 

On a label the ' Group \ ' Class ' and ' Document ' E. 

parts of the reference may best be placed 101. 
vertically, in three lines, thus 22/11 

Whether or no he adopts the above plan the Archivist is 
earnestly advised to choose one system and keep to it. 

So far we have been dealing with the slips. Once the new 
references have been added to these the Archivist may proceed to 
re-arrange his documents in their new order, give to them also 
their new (and final) references, and re-pack them. 

( y) The Making of the Inventory : continued. To return to 
the making of the Inventory. We have dealt with the classes 
that are to figure in it and with the method of numeration to be 
employed, but have omitted so far the question of the order in 
which the classes are to come — an important matter if the 
arrangement is, as we desired, to act as an exposition of the 
character and meaning of the whole Archive Group. This may 
be settled by an introductory note which it is advisable x to 
prefix to the Inventory in which the evolution of the Archives 
forming the Group in question is set out, together with the 

1 Cf. Muller, Feith, and Fruin, § 61. The History of the Exchequer of Receipt 
given in App. V (i) is rather an elaborate example. 


history of the Administration which produced them : the order 
in which the various Archive classes appear in this account will 
naturally be followed * in arranging the order of the classes in 
the body of the Inventory. Naturally also the Miscellaneous 
or Unclassified will come only after all the ' Series ' have been 
dealt with. 

For the purposes of an Inventory, where the entry of a 
series takes up only a few lines of writing or type, there can be no 
objection to entering a series twice over (with a cross reference 
in each case) ; and it will be highly desirable where a single 
series refers into two or more functions to insert it in its place 
under each heading. Makers of Inventories and Indexes are 
in general too much afraid of this double entry, a most valuable 
device provided it is adequately distinguished by means of 
cross references and reserved for special cases — not used where 
a cross reference by itself would be sufficient. 

The filling up of gaps in the Group as it appears in the 
Inventory demands a few words. To take an example : owing 
to some accident of custody in the past a certain number of 
volumes from a series of Treasury Archives 2 at the Public Record 
Office were formerly in the collection of the Duke of Leeds. It is 
obviously good sense in such a case to indicate in the Inventory 
the source from which gaps of this kind may be filled. Similarly 
where Archives have in the past got into the wrong Group it 
will be well in inventorying the Group to which they properly 
belong to include them, calling attention to their present 
position by means of a cross reference. 3 

As to the description of the various classes or series in the 
Group we may adopt the ruling of the Manuel : 4 it should be 
the object of the Inventory to give a general idea of the series, 
not of the pieces contained in it. At the same time a loophole 
should be left for exceptional cases : where, for example, the 

1 This again departs a little from the Manuel which recommends an order based on 
the Documentary form of the Archives : an inconvenient method, if only for the reason 
that forms may change while Functions remain. 

2 e. g. T. 52, Nos. 3 to 6. They have now been restored to Public Custody. 

3 Always supposing that the Archivist does not decide to take the risk of transferring 
them. See above, p. 113. 4 § 37. 


contents of a single volume forming part of a regular series are 
abnormal (i. e. not of a nature covered by the Introductory- 
Note) the facts should be recorded in the Inventory, which 
would break off its general description of the series for the 
purpose. As to the matter of the Descriptions, 1 obviously certain 
items of information must invariably be included. Such are 
the number of pieces in the series thus summarily described ; 
the gaps in any series, and its covering dates ; 2 and all ancient 
names and references for the series or for items in it ; and the 
covering reference numbers. Touching these (especially the 
dates) we may remark that the Authors of the Manuel in their 
later sections have endeavoured to secure a standardized 
phraseology of description. In the present work we have not 
attached so much importance to this, indeed we have indicated 
above 3 that in some respects it seems to us very difficult to 
secure — at any rate on an international basis. On the other 
hand we shall suggest below 4 that some homogeneity in 
methods of listing and calendaring is not unattainable within 
the limits of English Archives and shall cite certain efforts which 
have been, or are being made, to secure this. It is not improb- 
able that in the next few years considerable progress may be 
made in this direction and it is obviously desirable that English 
or English-speaking Archivists should all use the same method 
and terminology when describing common features in Archives 
— form, style of make-up, state of repair, number and descrip- 
tion of the component parts (leaves, sheets, membranes, etc.) 
seals and even handwriting. 

1 Cf. Muller, Feith, and Fruin, §§ 35 to 55. 

2 There is one point with regard to dating — see above, paragraph (q) — which is not 
a matter of opinion but a rule. As it is of extreme importance we will venture to repeat 
it here. The date of any given document for the purposes of an inventory of the 
Archive Group is the date at which it came into that Group ; not the date of its writing, 
which may have been years or centuries earlier. When an inventory is being made this 
(the earlier) date should be the subject of a footnote or special description. Thus a 
bundle of private vouchers may properly be described as covering the first ten years of 
Edward Ill's reign, during which they were made ; while they are dated and placed 
in the Inventory in the eleventh, the year in which they were used for Audit, and so 
became Public Records. 

3 Part 1 § 7. 4 See below (p. 129) § 8 (/) : see also above p. 18. 


The work we have been describing constitutes one of 
the Archivist's most important tasks. In it he renders an 
account of his stewardship. We may add that if any detailed 
information as to the Archive classes is to be printed the 
Inventory would appear to have the first and best claim to 
such treatment. 

(z) Deposited Collections and Transcripts. So far we have 
numbered and arranged our Archives and produced an Intro- 
duction and Inventory to one or all of the Archive Groups 
which compose the whole collection. There are, however, two 
types of Archive to which we have not referred. 

The first of these, perhaps, we are hardly entitled to dis- 
tinguish from our normal collections, considering the opening 
we have endeavoured to make x for the reception by the Archi- 
vist (for their own safety and custody's sake) of Archives 
(perhaps of a purely private character) with which he has 
officially nothing to do. The Archivist's duty to them may run 
upon exactly the same lines as that he owes to the ' Group ' 
taken over by him in the regular course of business : i. e. he 
must regard his responsibility as starting from the moment he 
takes over custody and must treat the collection thus deposited 
exactly as if it were an ordinary Archive Group : with this 
exception, that in stamping them he should use some method 
which will distinguish them without any question from others 
whose custody has had a genuinely official character. 

We may take this opportunity to mention a question which 
arises occasionally 2 when documents are restored to their proper 
place from some outside source. These should be marked 
with a note, or a special and easily distinguishable stamp, 
indicating that they have been sometime out of official custody. 

Collections of Transcripts 3 from Archives elsewhere may 

1 Above, Part II, § 3. Note that the Pershore Cartulary now in the Archives of 
the Augmentation Office (above Part II, § 2 (e)) belongs properly to this class ; or 
would have done, if the class had been in existence when it was added to that 

2 Cp. the case of the restored Treasury Records cited above. 

3 The Public Record Office, for example, possesses a considerable collection 
derived from foreign Archives of all kinds and made at various dates from the times 


sometimes be, from the Historian's and other students' point 
of view, very desirable inmates of an Archive Repository. If 
they are there the best way to treat them is to consider them 
Archives of the Repository itself, dating from the time of their 
arrival there, and to give them custody accordingly : this will 
give them as time goes on a certain limited Archive value. They 
must not, of course, on any account be incorporated to any 
(even the smallest) extent in Original Groups in which they 
might fill gaps, and it is even doubtful whether they should be 
referred to in the Inventories of these ; which in point of fact 
can equally easily refer to the originals from which the Tran- 
scripts are made. Perhaps if this last is done footnotes may 
refer the student for his convenience to the copies existing in 
the Office. 

(aa) Repository Lists. We may now come to the question of 
the remaining needs of the Archives themselves in the matter of 
means of Reference, as opposed to the needs of students with 
whose requirements we are to deal in the next section. The 
first need, in the case of any large and composite Repository 
will clearly be a Summary Inventory of its contents. The 
order in which the various Archive Groups figure in this way 
may be any that the Archivist finds convenient — an Alphabetical 
one suggests itself. The order of the classes within the Groups will 
naturally be the same as that used in the several Inventories ; 
because here it will be generally desired to look up a document 
by its Reference Number. The information which the Summary 
Inventory will be desired to give will be — 

the classes (it will not, of course, go into further detail) in 
each Archive Group ; 

the number of ' pieces ' (i. e. primary numbers — not sub- 
numbers) in each of these ; 

the dates covered by each class ; 

the class reference number ; 

the place in the Repository occupied by each class. 

of the early nineteenth century Record Commission onwards ; similarly the Canadian 
Archives are being enriched with large quantities of transcripts from the Public 
Record Office, doubtless of great importance for historical purposes. 


If a copy of the Summary Inventory is made available to any 
other than members of the Staff of the Repository the last 
mentioned item should be suppressed in it. 

Next, every Room or other Department into which the 
Repository is divided will need a Shelf List, shewing the classes 
which are to be found there and the section of shelving which 
each occupies. This will be kept on the spot for the convenience 
of the staff engaged in producing documents : but copies of 
all Shelf Lists combined in a single volume will be a convenient 
work of reference for the Archivist himself. 

Thirdly, there will be necessary a Class List for every class 
giving the information which is left out of the Inventory, 
i. e. the detailed numbering and date of every document or 
collection of documents in a series as well as of the separate 
documents in the Miscellaneous class. This List, an essential for 
the purposes of production, will be required by the Student as 
well as the Archivist. 

(bb) Catalogue of Indexes, etc. Transcripts, Calendars, Des- 
criptive Lists and Indexes are to be treated in our next section : 
but from one point of view they may properly be mentioned 
here. In many large Repositories, especially those which 
contain post-medieval documents, there will be found a quan- 
tity of such compilations (notably of Indexes) which are themselves 
Archives, 1 the work of the same hands that compiled the series 
to which they refer. It will generally be found convenient to 
keep a separate list 2 of these, drawn from all the Archive 
Groups in the Repository ; and if to this be added a note of 
all the modern ones (i. e. of those which are not of Archive 
character), whether manuscript or printed, the result will be a 
valuable Catalogue of all Official means of reference to Archives 
in the Repository, arranged in an order corresponding with 
that of the Summary Inventory. 

1 There are large quantities of these in some of the modern Departmental Archives 
at the Public Record Office (e. g. those of the Admiralty and the War Office) ; 
but perhaps the greatest number come in the form of such works as Cause Books from 
the Courts of Law. 

2 At the Public Record Office the ' Archive Character ' Indexes are withdrawn 
from their classes, given an extra numbering, and kept all together in an easily 
accessible place : they amount at present to about 20,000. 


(cc) Conclusion. We may emphasize the fact that we have 
tried so far only to indicate essentials for the efficient and safe 
running of a Repository. The precise way in which the Archivist 
secures these must to some extent vary with circumstances : 
in a small Repository, for instance, he may find it possible 
to cover in a single operation what have here been described 
as two or more stages in the work, or to make a single list 
serve a double purpose. Such variation is of no moment 
provided none of the necessities we have enumerated are 

§ 7. The Archivist, the Administrator, and the Historian 

We shall have occasion in the next part to point out the 
very distinct positions occupied in the matter of Archives, by 
the Archivist and the Administrator who compiles Archives ; 
but the difference is even more strongly marked between the 
Archivist and the Historian. We have already given some hint 
of this in our opening sections, but must now emphasize it : 
the Archivist is not and ought not to be an Historian. He 
will need of course, some knowledge of History and may be 
interested in it personally, just as he may be interested in 
Metallurgy or any other science : but his duty is to his Archives, 
independently of any of the Research subjects (of which 
at present History is the most prominent) which make use of 
Archives for their own ends ; and therefore an interest in any 
of these subjects, since it might give him a prepossession in 
favour not only of a subject but also perhaps of a school of 
opinion within that subject, might be more than inconvenient 
or inappropriate, it might be positively dangerous. Most of 
the bad, sometimes damaging, work which has been done 
upon Archives in the past, from the ' methodizing ' of them 
down to the publishing of expensive calendars conforming so 
closely to the desires of one generation of students that they 
were quite useless for the purposes of the next — most of the 
bad and dangerous work done in the past may be traced to 
external enthusiasms resulting in a failure on the part of the 


Archivist to treat Archives as a separate subject. In relation to his 
charges the Archivist should be a modern only so far as strictly 
modern questions of buildings, custody, and the like are con- 
cerned : for the rest he should be all things to all Archives, his 
interests identified with theirs, his period and point of view 
theirs. This may be a personal disadvantage to him ; but it is a 
duty inherent in the career of an Archivist and should be faced. 
The Archivist, then, is the servant of his Archives first and 
afterwards of the student Public. It follows that when, but 
not before, he has done all that is necessary by his Archives his 
duty is to devote himself to publication in the interests of 
Research workers. It may be maintained with some force in many 
cases that his first duty, adequately carried out, would leave him 
no leisure for his second ; but in any case (and we will assume 
here that he is to have some leisure to devote to the special 
requirements of the student, and in particular of the Historian) 
there is a clearly marked distinction between his two duties and 
positions. In the first he himself must be the judge of what is 
required and should allow no external interference in the matter 
of arrangement, for example, and of the resulting lists which 
we have been discussing : up to this point the Archivist has 
been within his own province, and should have no occasion, save 
exceptionally, to consult any outside authority. But in his second 
position and capacity (if he is able to take it up) he is no longer 
the expert on his own ground but simply the servant of the 
Public ; and the Public, which pays, is entitled to indicate 
what shall be done ; though it is incidental to the Archivist's 
necessary qualities that he will probably be able to offer a sound 
opinion if called upon. The late Royal Commission com- 
mented with an appearance of some surprise 1 upon the 
arrangement by which, in certain countries, matters relating to 
the publication of Archives are in the hands of an unofficial 
Committee of Historical and other experts. But this is perfectly 
logical and quite right. Though, as we said, knowledge inci- 
dentally acquired may enable the Archivist to give valuable help 

1 First Report, ii, p. 139 : 'in the Netherlands Archivists are regarded as being 
chiefly occupied with the custody and arrangement of Archives . . . ' : cf. ibid., p. 129. 


to such a Committee, it is not for him to decide what publica- 
tions the Public requires or what are most needed for the 
advance of Historical or some other form of Research. 

§ 8. Secondary Duties of the Archivist 

We will suppose, then, that the completion, temporarily, of 
all essential Archive work leaves the Archivist free to produce 
work to meet the special requirements of students. 

(a) The Guide. The first requirement may probably be held 
to be a General Guide to the contents of the Repository. 
This will be a small matter if the system of arrangement 
advocated above has been followed, for it will consist roughly 
speaking of a combination of all the Introductions and Notes 
from all the Inventories, condensed as far as possible, plus a 
modicum of information from the body of the Inventory as 
to dates and (in some cases) quantities. 

(b) Various Means of Reference to Archives. Since the first 
edition of this book appeared there have been published * two 
Reports by Anglo-American Committees on the subject of 
Editing ; to which all Archivists and others interested in the 
question should refer for detailed guidance. The Committees 
put forward recommendations for a systematic treatment of the 
various problems connected with Editing and rules for Trans- 
cription. Since obviously the publication of full transcripts 
would be the ideal way of treating most documents for the 
benefit of Students who cannot have personal access to them 
the Committees' Rules for this were the starting point for every- 
thing they had to say ; and their Rules followed closely the 
older set of Rules which were re-printed as an Appendix to the 
first edition of this book. I have therefore, in my present 
edition, omitted the Appendix and propose to confine myself 
here to some comment upon the larger questions raised by the 
Reports, with special reference to the point of view of the 
Archivist and to certain investigations which are in progress at 
the time of writing. 

1 In Numbers i and 7 of the Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research. 


As a preliminary we may observe that the Reports bring 
out the special importance of four matters. 

(i) The distinction between Transcribing and Editing : 
which is drawn by the first of the two Reports. Transcription 
can be made the subject of Rules — it is possible to aim at 
complete homogeneity. Editing is bound to be affected by 
the individuality of the editor ; who must take responsibility 
in each case for what he decides to omit or include : here 
we can only hope, at certain points, to secure homogeneity 
of principle. 

(ii) The importance of Nomenclature. A standard terminology 
is suggested for the description of forms of make-up ( c Roll ', 
1 File ', ' Roll of . . . Membranes filed ', ' Book ' * or 
£ Volume ') and of the various parts (' pieces ', ' mem- 
branes ', c leaves ' or ' folios ', ' sheets ', ' gatherings ', 
4 quires ') for documents of different kinds ; also for the 
description of seals 2 and of the methods of attaching them. 

(iii) The List, Descriptive Catalogue, Calendar and Full 
Transcript ; also the Introduction and Index : the Reports 
give an exact meaning to these and define the functions of 
each. Here I must venture to suggest a modification : in 
the present work the word List has been used (as it generally 
is in practice) to signify something which offers the barest 
minimum of information about each document — no more 
than its identification : the Committees, which were not 
concerned with so jejune a compilation, used the word to 
signify something fuller. We may meet the difficulty by 
using List in our own sense and combining the Committees' List 
and Descriptive Catalogue under the single title of Descriptive 

1 The accurate description of different types of books awaits the writing of a History 
of Binding which shall be more than a history of external decoration : but a distinction 
might even now be drawn between ' Bindings ' (where the boards are first attached to the 
sewing-bands and the cover then drawn on over all) and ' Casings ' (where cover and 
boards are put together separately and then attached to the sewn volume). See also 
above § 5 (I). 

2 On this subject see also my article in British Archaeological Journal, already cited : 
the Committee's proposals need a little extension in order to make them cover (in particu- 
lar) some of the later methods of sealing : where (for example) papering is used with a 
pendent seal. 


(iv) Comparative Use of the above Methods. The second 
Committee's Report discusses the regrettable necessity for 
adopting sometimes shorter methods in lieu of full Transcrip- 
tion, particularly in view of the vast accumulations of 
modern Archives : and suggests that Editors might often 
use all methods in combination in dealing with a single body 
of documents ; listing the unimportant ones, giving some 
description of others, calendaring the bulk of those which 
were really important for their purposes, and transcribing 
the most valuable of all in full. 

This recommendation rests upon the fact that a set of 
Archives, which has once been dealt with in print, is not 
likely to find a second editor : and that it is therefore 
incumbent on everyone who undertakes the editorial task to 
cater not only for his own interests and those of his fellow- 
workers in any given field but also for those of every class of 
student who might conceivably desire to have recourse to 
the documents in question. 

(c) The Archivist and the Editor. Before adding some 
comments on the various methods of dealing with documents 
named above, we may make two general remarks. First, 
though the Committees' rules and recommendations were 
drawn up for the guidance of those intending to print and 
publish they are equally applicable in cases where printing and 
publication are not contemplated. The fact that Lists, etc., are 
not to be printed should not be made the excuse for a lower 
standard of accuracy or completeness : nor are any of the 
methods to be used different : even an Index may be compiled 
on the same principles whether it refers to the pages of a printed 
book or to the folios or reference numbers of unprinted 

In the second place, the Committees undoubtedly had in 
mind very much the needs of those Students who do not 
normally intend, or are not able, to visit Archives personally. 
Now the Archivist, from the nature of his position, is much in 
contact with the other class of Students — the Students who 
prefer, and are able, to do their own work on the original 


documents and require aids to that rather than substitutes for 
it : and as he is bound to have an eye on the needs of his 
Students' Room he will probably find himself impelled in many 
instances to work at the production rather of Descriptive Lists 
and Indexes than of Full Transcripts or Calendars. He may 
frequently be able to contemplate a typescript edition of such 
work, with a few copies available for distribution outside his 
own Repository, when printing and formal publication would 
be out of the question. 

(d) The List. This (using the word in our own sense) need 
not detain us : we have, in fact, dealt with the List already, in 
company with the Inventory, the Summary Inventory and the Shelf 
List, as part of the necessary equipment for Repository Staff. 
Though it is equally essential in the Students' Room its use 
seldom goes further : and by itself it is seldom worth printing. 

(e) The Descriptive List. The treatment given to individual 
documents in this form is much the same as that we have 
already seen applied to the ' Miscellaneous ' classes in our 
Inventories. Here we have it extended to classes of all kinds : 
and though obviously it is more suitable to small documents 
than to large ones it is surprising how useful a Descriptive List 
even of a series of large Rolls or Registers may be ; and how 
much information it may convey in a small space. 

As to the manner of presenting this information one general 
principle may be laid down. Whenever it is possible, the 
personality of the modern editor is to be eliminated and the 
document left to speak for itself : dates and names, for instance, 
should be given in the form in which they appear in the original ; 
with their modern form (if that is desired) inserted after them 
within brackets. 

What then is the information which our Descriptive List is 
to provide ? Our object is to give the reader some idea of the 
existence, date, nature and extent of each document : so that 
he may at least be able to judge how far it is likely to be useful 
for his particular line of enquiry. But obviously some of our 
headings, and the extent to which we can fill them, must vary 
with the nature of the Class of documents we are treating : we 


may lay it down that a Descriptive List of Deeds is to shew all 
personal names which occur ; but we clearly could not do so 
in regard to a Descriptive List of Plea Rolls. Probably the most 
we can say is that certain headings will be of constant occurrence 
— those of the Reference, Nature, Date and Size of each document : 
that others — the Subject, Personal and Topographical headings — 
will be of frequent if not general occurrence, though the 
character of the information given will vary continually : that 
others again — material, make-up, documentary form, language, seals, 
and perhaps writing — will be occasional : and finally that some 
will be entirely ad hoc, appropriate to the description of docu- 
ments of one particular class. 

(/) The Descriptive List : continued. So much for variation in 
description as between Classes : but from another point of 
view we may stress the possibility not of variation but of 
similarity. There are many classes of Archives which occur 
with great frequency in small and large Repositories all over 
England : the number of surviving series of Manorial Records, 
for instance, cannot be less than 1 0,000 1 and the number of 
individuals and institutions controlling them must run, at least, 
into many hundreds. Supposing that descriptive lists of all 
these records were available, all made in the same way, is it not 
obvious (provided, of course, that the method of description 
was carefully worked out and adequate) that we should have in 
effect an enormous single Descriptive List, infinitely more 
valuable, because of the opportunities it offered for comparative 
study, than its component parts could be ? The matter is worth 
emphasizing because in this Country (and no doubt in many 
others) the possibility of greater co-ordination of method in 
such cases is not yet recognized ; nor indeed is its value always 
appreciated. The British Records Association recently com- 
piled 2 a census of views and practices in the matter of describing 
one of the most commonly occurring and valued classes of 
English Archives — that of the Deeds relating to land tenure. 

1 In one County for which a list has been published (Surrey Record Society \ 
No. XXVIII) there were found to be over 200 series. 

a For the purpose of its Annual Conference in 1935 : see its Proceedings, Number i„ 


The result of an analysis of replies from some 70 distinct 
institutions was remarkable : for out of 15 possible headings or 
methods of descriptions enumerated in a questionnaire none 
proved to be in use in every case and only 8 in more than 
50 per cent, of cases. The same Association is endeavouring now 
to find out * if an agreed form of headings for the description of 
documents of this kind could be generally adopted. It is 
greatly to be desired that such a general agreement should be 
found possible not only in this but in many other instances : 
and that Archivists and Students should become used to the 
idea that a measure of community of practice need not neces- 
sarily involve a harmful sacrifice of individuality. 

I have said nothing of the possibility that if common methods 
were anything like universal, copies of the descriptive lists of 
documents of a given kind might be assembled from scattered 
repositories and sorted together at a single centre of reference. 
Such a possibility is far distant and the practical details of any 
scheme of the kind would need careful consideration : but its 
value to scholarship, in certain cases at least, would be very 
great. Can anyone doubt, for example, the value to Students of 
a composite Descriptive List of all the existing Cartularies in 
England ? And if of Cartularies, why not of all Private 
Accounts (other than Manorial ones) before (say) 1700, and 
of many other types of document ? A long list of such desiderata 
could easily be imagined : and some of the smaller ones will 
probably be obtained. The question is whether we cannot make 
some of the larger ones a practical possibility ; and that without 
any extra expenditure of labour, merely by taking thought. 

(g) The Transcript, Calendar, etc. We pass here to the side 
of Archive work on which the interest of the outside Student 
definitely predominates : it is also the side least closely con- 
nected with the Archivist's primary functions ; and the side 
which he, owing to pressure of other duties, will have to leave 
in many cases to scholars from without. We may therefore pass 
lightly, while recommending the Committees' conclusions to 
very careful consideration. The governing principle of their 

1 A Report is promised shortly. 


Rules for Transcription is that so far as the resources of typo- 
graphy permit the Transcriber is to reproduce all peculiarities 
of the original : he is not to concern himself with any question 
as to their value or interest, not to exercise his judgement in 
any way. Practically the only exceptions are that he may 
extend abbreviations in early documents when there can be no 
doubt as to the way in which the original writer would have 
written them in extenso ; and (more doubtfully) that he may, 
under certain circumstances, deal with a recurrent peculiarity 
(such as a meaningless abbreviation) in a single initial note. 
The First Committee's Report goes on to envisage an Editor, a 
trained scholar, who (with many precautions carefully specified) 
may be allowed to relax, before publication, some of the 
Transcriber's severer orthodoxies : but the Transcriber himself 
6 however skilled ' (to quote the Report) ' will find the maximum 
of safety in simply printing his transcript as it stands '. 

The Calendar is a precis whose compiler endeavours, while 
economizing space, to achieve the same end as the Editor of a 
full text — that of making consultation of the original document 
unnecessary save in exceptional circumstances : he is to ' aim 
at preserving as much as possible of the language of the original, 
and all the matter contained in it, irrespective of the points 
which interest himself ; to ' employ some typographical 
convention to distinguish his own words from those of the 
original ' ; and wherever possible should use the method of 
making a complete transcript and then striking out otiose words 
or phrases and indicating these omissions by some conventional 
sign. In regard to spelling, punctuation and the like he can 
still be governed by the rules prescribed for the making of an 
accurate text. 

(A) Conclusion. Other portions of the First Report which 
may be recommended to special attention are those in which the 
parts to be played by Text, Introduction and Index respectively 
are carefully defined. The recommendations to the indexer of 
a printed text may be usefully applied (as we have already 
suggested) by the Archivist to the making of Indexes referring 
directly into his Archives. One point which the Committees 


perhaps hardly stress enough is the value of Facsimile Reproduc- 
tions as a supplement to both Introduction and Text. 

The extent to which the need of the learned world without 
for printed Transcript or Calendar may in the future be affected 
by increased facilities for cheap photography * is a question 
which we must only indicate. 

§ 9. References to Archives printed or used by Students 

So far we have dealt with the printing or calendaring of 
Archives on the assumption that this work would be taken up 
by series ; which is, from an Archive point of view, the only 
workmanlike and convenient plan. It must not be forgotten, 
however, that the interest in special subjects and in special 
forms of documents (the indiscreet application of which as a 
principle of arrangement has produced in the past, as we saw 
above, so much trouble among our Archive classes) represents 
a very genuine need of the Historian in certain cases. A 
collection of Royal Letters, 2 for example, may be of the greatest 
importance to him and may involve the printing of isolated 
documents and portions of series from half a dozen Archive 
Groups : nor is there any harm in it so long as it is not allowed 
to interfere with physical arrangement. This and private 
enterprise in printing abstracts or full transcripts of documents 
in the most diverse places will result in a short time in an 
extremely scattered representation of Archives in print. This 
brings us back to a purely Archive matter. It is most important 
that note should be made in lists — even on labels attached to 
the documents themselves — of the fact that a printed copy is 
available and incidentally that some given document does not 
represent so new a discovery as the enthusiastic student might 
be led to suppose. If the Archivist is unable to obtain for his 
own use copies of all such printings 3 he should at least have 
a note of the fact and for convenience index all cases of the kind 

1 For some remarks upon this subject see above p. 63, footnote. 

2 Many examples suggest themselves — Delisle's Recueil des Actes de Henri 11 ',. 
the series of Letters and Papers . . . Henry VIII, published by the Public Record 
Office, the Royal Letters (Chronicles and Memorials Series) ; all taken not only from 
various classes but from various Repositories of Archives. 

3 In some Archives presentation of copies is made a condition of permission to print. 


in an Index arranged (once again) in the order of the Summary 

§ 10. The Archivist's own Registers 

In a fully organized Repository the Archivist should be able 
to give at any moment the Archive History of any document : 
he should be able to say where it came from ; in what Lists, etc., it 
figures ; whether any part of it is known to be missing ; whether 
it, or any part of it, has been removed for storage under special 
conditions ; what is the nature and state of its make-up ; what 
has been done to it, or needs doing, by way of repair ; when and 
to whom it has been produced ; where if at all it is to be found 
in print ; and, of course, in what part of the Repository it is 
kept. And all this information, if it is to be readily available, must be 
arranged in the order of the Summary Inventory. In the case of a 
small Repository it should not be impossible for every docu- 
ment to be represented by a card on which its whole Archive 
History could be summarized. 1 In a large one this is, of course, 
impossible ; and the compilation of all the Registers which will 
therefore be required may appear at first sight a very heavy 
task : in practice, however, it should not be so difficult ; 2 
indeed we have provided for several of them already. 

To take them in order. 

An Accessions Register has been recognized from the first as 
an essential but is, of course, arranged in chronological order ; 
so that an index will be necessary. Actually, however, this 
index could be provided with a negligible amount of labour by 
the addition of a note to the Summary Inventory whenever a new 
class, or part of a class, is entered in it. 

Register of Lists, etc. The provision of this has also been 
suggested in another connexion. 3 

c Missing ' Register and Register of Removals. It is most 

1 A plan by which a card of this kind is made for every document on the occasion of 
its first production for any purpose is in operation in the important Archives of the 
Hudson's Bay Company. 

2 The various categories of registered information enumerated above have all in fact 
been worked out at the Public Record Office in recent years. 

3 See above § 6 (b). 


important, as we have remarked elsewhere, that the fact of a 
missing number in a series, or a part missing in a single docu- 
ment, should be made the subject of a dated note x at the 
moment when it is first observed. Similarly we have seen that 
all deliberate removals necessitate notes : Maps taken out of 
their proper place for better preservation, Indexes withdrawn 
from their classes to a special position for convenience of 
reference, particularly fragile or intrinsically precious docu- 
ments placed for extra security in a Safe Room or Museum — 
all these, we have ruled, are necessary operations and all involve 
the putting of a note or ' dummy ' in the place of the object 
removed. To secure a Register or Registers of these means no 
more than the writing of a reference, at the time anything of the 
kind is done, on a card specially designed for the purpose and 
the insertion of such cards in a cabinet in the order of the 'Sum- 
mary Inventory \ 

Register of Make-up. This is again best done by a card-index ; 
often a single card will represent a consecutive series of pieces. 
Its making will probably mean an initial general survey but 
once made its up-keep is easy. 

For the Repair and Production Registers we have already 
provided, as part of the equipment of the Repair and Students' 
Departments : 2 also we have suggested that the cards which 
take the place of documents in the Repository when they are 
under ' production ' in the Students' Room if kept afterwards 
and sorted into their documentary order (i. e. that of the ' Sum- 
mary Inventory ') will form a valuable record of the exact 
circumstances of production. We may add now that they will 
serve incidentally as an index to the Register of Productions ; 
and that a similar arrangement will provide an index to the 
Repairs Register. 

A Register of Publication has already been provided for among 
our requisites for the Students' Room : and position in the 
Repository is shewn in the Summary Inventory and the collected 
Shelf Lists. 

1 Or in the case of a missing number in a series, a dummy volume, etc. 

2 See above (pp. 65, 75) § 5 (h) and (k). 


A concluding remark. We have called these the Archivist's 
own Registers and recommended them as requisites for the 
internal working of the various departments of his Office. But 
many of them have an additional use in that they will serve as 
basis for the construction of very desirable aids for Students : 
providing without any additional labour the framework for 
subject indexes of Maps, Seals, Bindings and so forth. 


§ i. Introductory : old Archives and new Tendencies 

We have headed this part ' Modern Archives ' but it must 
begin with a matter left over from Part II. So far we have 
assumed that the Archivist whose conduct we discussed received 
invariably the formed collections of the past, that he had 
always space to house them and that consequently the question 
whether or no Archives were to be preserved at all did not 
arise. Unfortunately this is not invariably so in England, 
nor indeed anywhere : from the very beginning of the modern 
Archive era the necessity for destruction in certain cases has 
been put forward. No financial department (to take the case 
of National Archives) was prepared to undertake the expense 
of housing and caring for everything which the past had left 
us in the way of Archives. Thus in England, in the first half 
of the nineteenth century, the Controller General of the 
Exchequer and the Treasury, faced with the enormous mass 
of Exchequer of Receipt Records which were extracted, as we 
saw, 1 from the vaults of Somerset House, found it necessary 
to make provision of what was then thought a considerable 
amount of money for the purposes of sortation and destruction. 
The result, even according to the not very high standard of 
Archive values of that time, was disastrous : we get some 
faint idea of what occurred from the Minutes of the Select 
Committee of the House of Lords upon the Destruction and 
Sale of Exchequer Records : 2 but of the damage actually 
done we can form no real idea because the Committee would 
attach little importance to much that we should now consider 
criminal ; so that there was doubtless much destruction of 

1 App. V (i) (m). 2 Sessional Papers, House of Lords 1840, No. 298. 


which the Report and Minutes tell us nothing. 1 Nearly 
forty years later 2 came, after much discussion, the statutory 
Rules regarding the destruction of Public Records. 

If the Archives of the past have by their bulk necessitated, 
or appeared to necessitate, the formulation of Rules and the 
provision of machinery for destruction, still more do those of 
the present and future seem to demand them. The question 
of destruction is indeed the chief one which we have to discuss 
in this connexion : for if we are right in the definitions upon 
which this book is founded the Archives of the future will 
require, in matters of keeping and custody, neither more nor 
less of the Archivist than those of the past ; but the question 
of the bulk of present day Archives is a new and serious matter. 
No longer bound by the necessity for economy in the use of 
material (since paper is comparatively cheap) or of labour (with 
the modern facilities for writing, and still more for duplicating, 
at his disposal), using methods of Archive keeping which, as 
we have already pointed out, 3 are often of the most primitive 
kind, and at the same time involved in a system of office work 
infinitely larger and more complicated than anything the 
world has seen before, the Administrator of our times, whether 
servant of the State or private business man, piles up documents 
with a carelessness of the future which would be sublime if it 
were not due as a general rule to the simple desire to avoid 
trouble. In effect, to think whether a copy of a letter is 
worth making is a troublesome matter. In old days to make 
the copy was even more trouble and therefore the thinking 
was done : but now when writing is so commonly practised 
that it has become a mechanical, not an intellectual, task, the 
natural tendency is to avoid the painful process of thought ; 
why exert oneself to decide whether four copies of a letter, 
or any copy at all, are necessary when the difference in labour 
is only that of putting five sheets instead of one into a machine ? 
why go to the trouble of adding a cross-reference from one file 

1 It transpires in Devon's evidence that on one occasion he just saved a thirteenth- 
century Liberate Roll. 

2 The Act is of 1877. 3 Above (p. 106) Part II, § 6 (r). 


to another when it is so easy to slip a copy into each ? And so 
has arisen the slipshod manner of Archive-making and keeping 
which produced the colossal stacks of War Records to which 
we have already referred and even in peace threatens to increase 
to an unbearable extent the quantity of our Archives. 
Sometimes modern methods tend in the opposite direction 
and we find ourselves facing the danger that important ad- 
ministrative processes may not be recorded at all : but as a 
general rule the problem is rather that of over than of under 
production. There is real danger that the Historian of the 
future, not to mention the Archivist, may be buried under the 
mass of his manuscript authorities ; or alternatively that to 
deal with the accumulations measures may be taken which no 
Archivist could approve. 

§ 2. The General Practice with regard to Selection and 


It is not necessary for our present purposes to discuss in detail 
the various regulations prevailing in England and in other 
countries * with regard to Archive destruction : because all have 
certain common features which it is our purpose to examine in 
the light of the standard of Archive values we have already set 
up. We may, as usual, illustrate, where illustration is necessary, 
from English Archives. These common features are : 

(i) the reasons and justification for destruction ; 

(2) the method of selecting for destruction, including the 

precautions considered necessary ; and 

(3) the persons to whom the task of selecting is entrusted. 

We shall find it necessary to discuss these from two points 
of view : 

(i) that of the Archives of the past ; and 
(ii) that of Archives of the present and future. 

1 The Guide International des Archives (cited in our Introduction) contains answers 
from all European Countries to a question on this point : but see also the Appendices to 
to the First and Second Reports of the Royal Commission (1910) on Public Records. 


§ 3. Destruction : Grounds and Justification alleged 

If, excluding the considerable amount of destruction which 
has resulted at various times from carelessness, indifference or 
such ignorance as that which burned the tallies in 1834, con- 
demned the Archives of the Exchequer of Receipt to ' the 
Vault ' and sent those of the King's Remembrancer to rot in 
the Mews at Carlton Ride 1 — if we look at the history of the 
practice of Destruction we find a sharply defined difference 
between destruction as it was carried on in the past, i. e. by the 
persons who had themselves accumulated the Archives, and 
that of the present day. One very obvious distinction is that 
(apart, as we have said, from the losses arising from carelessness 
and ignorance) no one thinks of criticizing the past for its 
omission to preserve ; but from 1840 onwards no person or 
body entrusted with this duty in England has ever been immune 
from criticism of some sort. Why is this ? simply because the 
Archives which the past preserved it did not preserve for our 
information but for its own : how, then, can we blame it if, 
preserving only for this practical purpose, it found no interest 
in certain things which (it now appears) we should have been 
very glad to have. How joyfully would our Elizabethans, for 
example, welcome more details about Shakespeare such as 
are given by the Depositions discovered some years ago. Yet 
no one could have blamed the Court of Requests if, as sometimes 
happened in other cases, it had ^reserved those particular 
depositions only in summary or without the precious signature 
which has been the subject of so much learned writing : the 
court was merely interested in the (not very important) 
deposition ; it did not know what an interest posterity would 
have in the deponent. Much less can we blame the past 
for all the little Shakespeariana which accident might have 
preserved in one form of Archives or another, but which it 
has not. But if the Court of Common Pleas, which regularly, 
as a part of its official work, preserved the Feet of all Fines 
levied in it, had through carelessness failed to preserve No. 12 

1 Cf. F. W. Maitland, Memoranda de Parliamento (1893), Introduction, p. xiii. 

1 4 o MODERN ARCHIVES part m 

on the file for Warwickshire, Easter 39 Elizabeth, 1 then we 
should have had legitimate ground for complaint. 

In a word we can criticize the Past only if it failed to keep 
up to its own standard of values. But in the case of the Present 
what is the standard ? what is the criterion of Destruction ? 
There is the difficulty, and there the starting-point of criticism. 
The person or body in our times who is entrusted with the 
task of destruction has to exercise choice not on the ground of 
what is useful for the practical purposes of Administration 
but of what is worth preserving in the interests of History : 
and it is rare, as we have said, not to find him or them attacked 
sooner or later either for the choice itself or for the manner in 
which it has been carried out. 

Practically the modern Destroyer can condemn only on 
two grounds — one that the documents in question duplicate 
others already in existence, the other that they are of no 
historic value. We must proceed, then, to investigate these 
two grounds and the methods by which it is established that 
upon them any given documents may be condemned. 

§ 4. Destruction : the usual methods of selection for this purpose 

Since we have referred in a previous section to precautions, 
it may be well, in passing, to mention those necessary to ensure 
that documents condemned to be destroyed (if there are any 
such) are destroyed ; and not used to wrap up butter or 
converted into scandalous tambourines : in England certain 
happenings at the beginning of the nineteenth century (when, 
for example, documents condemned as valueless proved to be 
saleable as autographs) have resulted in very careful arrange- 
ments to ensure that all such documents are actually pulped 
or in other ways so disposed of that their career as documents 
ceases. Here, however, we are concerned rather with the 
precautions taken to ensure that documents valuable as 
Archives are not destroyed ; and with the methods employed, 
under those precautions, to reduce the size of Archive col- 

1 The fine by which Shakespeare purchased the estate of New Place in 1597. 


(a) Word-for-word Duplicates. The first remark that occurs 
to us will probably be that destruction, if it is to be of any 
use, must be upon a large scale : , no person or body entrusted 
with this work could think it worth while to spend time 
discussing whether one or two books should or should not 
be preserved. But this takes us on immediately to another 
question — how much labour will be involved in deciding 
whether documents are, or are not, duplicates ? because our 
whole object being essentially the saving of expense we clearly 
must not make the procedure involved by that saving itself 
too expensive. • 

Now the word duplicate may at a pinch bear two meanings. 
It certainly stands for word-for-word repetition but it may 
also be taken to mean repetition of the sense, of the content, 
of a document. We will deal first with the word in its literal 

The moment we begin to think of concrete examples, even 
if we choose them from the comparatively terse and un- 
voluminous Middle Ages, we cannot but be staggered by the 
task we are giving to our Destroyers. Take, for instance, the 
case of the early Liberate Rolls, which we have used so frequently 
in this volume, and suppose that it were possible and proper to 
consider that class for the purpose of destruction of duplicates. 
Very often two of these rolls will be word for word the same 
until we arrive at one particular point upon which for the 
moment they diverge, one perhaps including and another 
omitting : how then can any one hope to decide whether or 
no two of these documents are duplicates save by means of 
a word-for-word collation ? It may be urged that one can 
work by series : if Number 1 of Series A and Number 1 of 
Series B are proved duplicates then let the whole of Series B 
(let us say) go to destruction without anything more in the 
way of investigation than a formal check at this point and 
that. But the case of two series one piece of which duplicates 
another is exactly the same as that of two registers or rolls or 
files one portion of which is the same in each : there is no 
more than a presumption that the remainder is duplicate too. 

i 4 2 MODERN ARCHIVES part m 

If it be suggested that we should destroy on such a presump- 
tion we can only reply that to do so is to take a considerable 
risk ; and that we have throughout discouraged compromises. 
Every one with any experience of research work upon Archives 
must be aware that it is very often the casual reference — the 
detail accidentally included, the enclosure accidentally left in 
— which proves to be the one point of particular interest. 1 

It is difficult to see how any one faced with such facts in 
relation at least to the Archive collections left us by the past 
can give any opinion other than that which Sir Thomas 
Hardy 2 gave to the Committee of the House of Lords which 
was considering in 1877 the whole question of destruction of 
Archives ; when, in answer to the question whether the sanction 
of a committee for destruction should be given to ' a class of 
papers or to each individual paper ', he replied ' each \ 3 This 
was in the course of evidence during which the Master of the 
Rolls (Sir George Jessel) remarked, ' the presumption should 
be always in favour of keeping records ' and ' I think it is the 
duty of the keeper of the Rolls to preserve them, not to destroy 
them ' : remarks which, since they were made during the 

1 The evidence of Sir John Laughton before the Royal Commission (First Report, 
iii, p. 180) provided an admirable example of this from the Admiralty Archives : 
let us take one or two others (they might be multiplied almost ad infinitum) from 
medieval sources. The writer on one occasion was concerned to find out if 
possible what was meant when a certain Sheriff was described as having paid in at the 
Receipt money de diversis debitis : by sheer chance the original account of this official 
{which is reproduced on the Pipe Roll and, to the extent of certain details, on 
the Receipt Roll) had survived and by chance again it slipped in (contrary to practice) 
an explanation of what these debts were : they were Jewish debts and that one small 
fact practically established a proof that the popular idea of the famous Scaccarium 
Judeorum as a financial body through which all Jewish money transactions had 
to pass was erroneous. Even those most obvious of ' duplicates ', the Pipe Roll 
and the Chancellor's Roll, concerning which it is definitely laid down in the Dialogus 
that the second is a copy of the first, are in point of fact at certain periods 
nothing of the kind, serving frequently in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries 
to correct each other's blunders. The triplicate series of Receipt and Issue 
Rolls furnish again and again instances where one out of the three rolls contains an 
added note which is absent from the others ; we have used more than one such to 
illustrate points in the present volume : see e. g. App. V (i) (/) note. 

2 Then Deputy Keeper of the Public Records. 

3 Minutes of Evidence of the Select Committee of the House of Lords on the Public Record 
Office Bill (1877), quoted in the Royal Commission's First Report, ii, p. 35. 


examination of a scheme of destruction put forward by the 
Master of the Rolls' own department, admirably illustrate at 
once the way in which Archivists may find themselves oppressed 
by the bulk of their charges and the extreme difficulty attending 
any plan for destruction. In fine it is impossible to lay down 
any procedure for determining whether one document is the 
duplicate of another except a page for page and line for line 
collation ; and it is very doubtful whether such work will not 
prove so expensive as to make destruction hardly worth while. 

(b) Museum specimens and composite classes. Word for word 
duplication does not cover the whole of the ground usually 
assigned to destruction : there is also the case where one 
document duplicates the sense of another. Thus (to turn 
once more to the medieval Exchequer for an example) the 
enrolled account does not always reproduce the exact wording 
of the original account : it sometimes summarizes. There 
arises the question of destruction in such a case. But before 
we proceed to discuss this we may deal by anticipation with 
a special point which is closely connected with it. 

There is a tendency in such cases to destroy a series of 
documents with certain exceptions ; these exceptions being 
preserved either on what we may call sentimental or aesthetic 
grounds, because they are fine specimens or contain interesting 
signatures or pictures or the like, or because they fill gaps in 
the series which is to be preserved. With regard to the first 
of these (since it is a question which will arise again when we 
come to consider the problem of preserving or destroying on 
grounds of historical interest) we need say no more here than 
that it is a singularly unscientific method to preserve documents 
as Archives because they are fine Museum specimens and that 
it goes contrary to everything we have said in a previous 
section concerning the necessity of preserving series intact. 
As to the second, the making up of composite sets from two 
or more original series, it is a definitely bad practice because 
it is unnatural, forces Archives into forms they did not originally 
bear, and obscures their meaning : it breaks, in fact, every 
known rule of classification and arrangement. In effect, if it 

i 4 4 MODERN ARCHIVES part m 

were possible to make a reasonable single series from (say) 
Journals, Ledgers, and Cash Books combined, why did not the 
original administration which compiled them do so ? The 
Archivist is a bold man who proposes to answer to that question, 
' because they did not know their own business ' ; and in 
fact any accountant could supply a better reason. 

(c) Sense Duplicates. There is only one point really to be made 
with regard to these. The idea that any document can be 
considered to come near duplicating another, unless it is 
almost word for word the same, is simply erroneous ; resting 
on a very narrow conception of what the student of the future 
(or for that matter the present) may require of his manuscript 
authorities. Even a small divergence between two documents 
can indicate a divergence between two scribes which may be, 
for any one of a number of reasons, of extreme importance. 
How much more evidently is this the case when the same matter 
appears in the forms first (to take the examples we have already 
used) of a Journal and then of a Ledger. It is clear, therefore, 
that we may best treat this question of the destruction of 
' sense duplicates ' under our next division. Since it appears 
so difficult upon any strict interpretation of Archive principles 
to destroy Archives upon the ground that they are duplicates 
we must turn to the other justification — Historical Useless- 

(d) Documents not considered to be of sufficient value to justify 
their preservation. It is disappointing, but we are bound upon 
examination to give little more encouragement to this proposal 
than to the first. It does not seem much to demand that any 
one who is to take upon himself the responsibility of destroying 
irrevocably Archives which have come down to us from the 
past should do so on something more than a consideration 
of his own interests and those of the time in which he lives : 
he should surely regard himself as a trustee for the future as well 
as for the present. But in that case who is to fill the role ? 
who can project himself into the future and foresee its require- 
ments ? Within the last hundred years the enormous collection 
of Port Books now at the Public Record Office was condemned 

§§ 4 , 5 DESTRUCTION 1 45 

as valueless. 1 They were made available for public research 
only a few years ago and yet already they have furnished the 
basis for important studies in post-medieval economic history 2 
besides providing information for research workers on minor 
but important points. 3 We are not on this account to blame 
overmuch the judgement of earlier periods ; the truth is simply 
that they were unable to predict the directions which would 
be taken by the historical interests of the next hundred years : 
and it is difficult to see how any one can in conscience propose 
in our own time to do any better for the interests of the future. 
For example, we have been speaking and thinking throughout 
this section of the interests of the Historian ; but can we even 
answer for it that in the future the Historian will be the person 
most interested in the Archives we are leaving behind us ? 
We are left by such considerations as these with a growing 
conviction that destruction of any of the Archives we have 
received from the past is a course that a conscientious Archivist 
must find it difficult to commend. 

§ 5. Destruction of Ancient Archives : who is to be 
responsible for it ? 

This consideration follows directly upon the preceding ; 
and to some extent ' duplicates ' it. There has been a general 
assumption in the past that the task of destruction and the 
responsibility for it belong to the Archivist. But, putting 
aside for the moment the question whether destruction of the 
Archives of the past is a thing proper to be undertaken at 
all, is destruction of any kind a proper part of the Archivist's 
business ? It has emerged with tolerable clearness from what 
we have already said that the Archivist is not and should not 

1 By so eminent an authority as Sir Francis Palgrave, v among others. See 
Reports of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records, iv, p. 17; cp. the Report (1833) 
of the Record Commission. The late Royal Commission has dealt at some length 
with the history of these Records but does not appear to have drawn from it some very 
important inferences in regard to destruction {First Report, ii, pp. 45 et seq.). 

2 N. S. B. Gras, The Early English Customs System . . . (Cambridge, Mass. : 191 8). 

3 e. g. the voyages of the Mayflower : cp. a Note by R. P. Marsden in the Royal 
Commission's First Report, ii, p. 49. 


be primarily concerned with the modern interests which his 
Archives at any given time may serve. He is concerned to 
keep their qualities intact for the use, perhaps, in the future, 
of students working upon subjects which neither he nor any one 
else has contemplated. His work consequently is that of 
physical and moral conservation and his interest an interest 
in his Archives as Archives, not as documents valuable for 
proving this or that thesis. How then is he to undertake 
work involving judgement and choice on precisely those 
matters which are not his concern ? as well expect a Palaeonto- 
logist (to borrow once again the old simile) to be interested in 
the manufacture of bone tooth-brushes as ask the Archivist 
(in his official capacity) to pronounce judgement upon the 
merits as historical evidences of a set of Archives. At most 
he might condemn on the ground that some series formed 
a comparatively unimportant link in the administrative chain 
of which the remains are in his keeping ; on such grounds 
he might destroy (for example) some of the medieval records 
of preliminary audit — a proceeding which could hardly be 
expected to give satisfaction to the Historian. We are not 
saying that the Archivist may not have, incidentally, sound 
opinions upon historical subjects : the Palaeontologist may 
similarly be well informed as to the merits of different kinds 
of bone when on the lathe ; but such knowledge is not more 
than incidental to the business of either. 

But if the Archivist cannot be of use, or can only give 
occasionally assistance, can we not appeal to the Historian ? 
he seems the obvious person to undertake such a task and, to 
do him justice, is generally very willing to do so. As soon, 
however, as the Historian's claims in this connexion are 
investigated, it becomes clear that the choice of him as arbiter 
of the fate of Archives is at least as open to criticism as that 
of the Archivist. Putting aside, once again, the doubt already 
expressed as to whether any one is competent to pronounce 
upon the probable needs of the future, we are still bound to 
call attention to other disabilities attaching to the Historian. 
Must he not be regarded, where his own subject is concerned, 

§§ 5, 6 DESTRUCTION 147 

as a person particularly liable to prejudice ? Surely there will 
always remain the suspicion, at least the possibility, that in 
deciding upon a policy of Archive conservation he favoured 
those Archive classes which furthered his own special line of 
inquiry : how could he, in fact, do otherwise, since presumably 
he was honestly under the impression that the most important 
line of investigation in a given period was such and such ? 
But once this possibility is imported into Archives one of their 
important characteristics is gone or at least gravely imperilled — 
their unquestioned impartiality : the very fact that a Historian 
is known to have selected is fatal to it. 1 

Let us repeat once more that up to the present we are 
dealing only with the collections of Archives which the past 
has left to us. Summarizing, so far as concerns these, we find 
the conclusion unavoidable that destruction is an operation 
which can only be practised with undoubted safety in one case — 
that of word-for-word duplicates : all other proposed criteria 
are fallacious ; and in any case there is great difficulty in finding 
suitable persons to carry them out. Moreover, in the one case 
where the thing is permissible it is doubtful whether destruction 
in any fashion which can be called safe is not too laborious 
(and consequently too expensive) to be worth while. 

We now turn to a consideration of Archives of the present 
and future. 

§ 6. Present provision for Destruction ; and the Future 

of Archives 

We should premise that we are here departing from the 
principle we have maintained so far and no longer considering 
matters from the point of view of Archivists pure and simple. 

1 It is noticeable that in the evidence before the House of Lords Committee in 
1877 already quoted, the proposal to add to any Committee for Destruction an 
Assessor chosen on account of Historical or Antiquarian eminence was accepted 
by the official witnesses (the Master of the Rolls and the Deputy Keeper of the 
Public Records) with the proviso that he should not have a vote. They did not take 
the same point of view with regard to Archivists : see, however, the opinion of 
Sir Thomas Hardy, quoted in the next section. 


We might perhaps find some excuse in the fact that although 
the documents with regard to which we propose to offer some 
suggestions are not yet Archives and therefore not our concern, 
many of them are in point of fact not yet in existence at all 
and may therefore be held to offer a free field. 

All countries have, of course, considered the necessity for 
the destruction upon occasion of documentary accumulations 
and have made some provision for it. As a rule this provision 
has taken the form of regulations drawn up by a committee 
consisting of an admixture in one proportion or another of 
the Archivist, the Administrator, and the Historian. The 
Regulations 1 distinguish certain types of document which 
ought to be weeded (to use the English expression), generally 
in the office to which they belong ; 2 which the administration, 
or in some cases the Archivist, is accordingly empowered to 
' weed '. The questions we are now obliged to ask, with all 
diffidence, are 

(i) is this system effectual and, if it is, will it continue to 
be so ? and 

(ii) does it produce Archives of the same quality as those 
the past has bequeathed to us ? 

To the first of these questions our war experience, however 
abnormal that may be, in conjunction with what we have 
already suggested of the increasing tendency to manufacture 
Archives on a hopelessly gigantic scale (a tendency by no 
means confined to Departments of State), seems to return an 
emphatic negative. There is, as we have already remarked, 
a real danger that in the future research work upon Archives 

1 The term is perhaps a little misleading so far as concerns English Archives. 
In this country a schedule of documents which it is proposed to destroy has to be 
approved by the Public Record Office and the Master of the Rolls and to be submitted 
to Parliament. The practice therefore with regard to modern departmental records 
is to have a permissive or continuing schedule which will allow of the weeding of certain 
specified classes from time to time within the Office to which they belong. This 
schedule is authorized by ' Inspecting Officers ' (drawn in practice from the Public Record 
Office) acting in conjunction with Officials of the Department concerned. 

2 It is perhaps worth noting in connexion with our English illustrations that 
Sir Thomas Hardy (to quote again his evidence in 1877) laid stress upon the propriety 
of weeding before the documents were sent to the Public Record Office. 

§§6,7 SELECTION 149 

may become a task hopelessly complicated by reason of their 
mere bulk. 

To the second question we must devote a separate section. 

§ 7. The selection of Modern Archives 

If we look at the objections we have already raised to 
the possible methods of destroying portions of our older Archive 
collections, we shall see that all are based on the difficulties 
that arise when the Archivist and the Historian are given what 
amounts to a share in the creation of those Archives which it 
is their true business only to keep and to use respectively, 
and we have given our reasons for holding those difficulties to 
be insuperable. We can only add here that if they were insuper- 
able in regard to the Archives of the past, they must be equally 
so in regard to those of the present and future. On the other 
hand, we have already described certain destruction of Archives 
which has occurred in the past as being of a nature not open 
to criticism. That was the destruction carried out before our 
time by the original owners of the documents and based on 
a point of view having nothing to do with the documents' 
position either as Archives or as historical evidences. In fine, 
for the Archivist to destroy a document because he thinks 
it useless is to import into the collection under his charge 
what we have been throughout most anxious to keep out of 
it, an element of his personal judgement ; for the Historian 
to destroy because he thinks a document useless may be safer 
at the moment (since he presumably knows more history than 
the Archivist), but is even more destructive of the Archives' 
reputation for impartiality in the future : but for an Admini- 
strative body to destroy what it no longer needs is a matter 
entirely within its competence and an action which future 
ages (even though they may find reason to deplore it) cannot 
possibly criticize as illegitimate or as affecting the status of 
the remaining Archives ; provided always that the Administra- 
tion proceeds only upon those grounds upon which alone it is 
competent to make a decision — the needs of its own practical 

1 5 o MODERN ARCHIVES part m 

business ; provided, that is, that it can refrain from thinking 
of itself as a body producing historical evidences. 

We have dwelt, perhaps, often enough in the present 
work upon this proviso : but the evidence, for example, of 
some of the English Departments before the late Royal Com- 
mission 1 shows that it requires much emphasizing from the 
point of view of archive values ; and we venture, even at the 
risk of a repetition ad nauseam, upon a final illustration. If we 
consider the value of Pepys's Diary, not for individual details 
in the history of the seventeenth century but for the broad 
conclusions we are to draw as to the character of the man 
himself, the social world around him and the position he 
really held in it — in a word, as to the value of his statements 
upon any matters in which he might be supposed to desire 
in the ordinary way to create some particular impression on 
the minds of other people — we shall see that the first and most 
essential question to be settled is — did he (in spite of the 
cipher), or did he not, contemplate the possibility that his 
work would be read by other people ? The position of Archives 
should be the position of the Diary with that question answered 
in the negative : that is the position we are trying to assure 
to the Archives of the future. 

Here then, in the case of the Archives now compiling and 
those to be compiled in the future, we have at last a place 
where destruction may be possible ; and in the action of the 
Administration, the actual body which produces the Archives, 
upon its own documents before they reach the Archive stage we 
may have the solution of our difficulties. It will be seen that 
we propose to follow to some extent what is the normal practice 
of the present day in relying upon the Administrator himself 
to deal with the growing bulk of his own collections. The 
difference in our point of view is that we wish to increase his 

1 Second Report, ii, p. 21. ' The War Office takes the view that the papers 
existing in . . . Commands are not Public Records but papers likely to be of interest 
are sent up to the War Office and so become Records of the Department.' The words 
here italicized may not refer to the interests *of History, but they indicate at least the 
direction in which this danger may be looked for. 

§ § 7, 8 SUMMARIZING 1 5 1 

activities and to eliminate from them any motive based on the 
alleged historical requirements of the future. At the same 
time we wish to ensure that the future (whose exact needs we 
do not know) shall be provided at least with as representative 
a body of unimpeachable Archives as the past has left to us. 
We are faced, then, with two questions only. 

(i) How can we ensure that the Administrator will destroy 
enough ? 

(ii) Per contra, may he not destroy too much ? If they 
are left long enough all documents become useless for the 
purposes of current business and he might therefore destroy 
all or nearly all : how is this to be avoided ? 

§ 8. Summarizing 

Let us summarize, to avoid confusion, the conclusions so 
far arrived at : we may thus get a clear idea of the object at 
which we are aiming. 

Touching the Archives of the past we have found great 
objections to any destruction, except in the one case ; and 
there only under conditions attended by an expenditure of 
so much labour as seems likely to be prohibitive. 

The Archives of the present we will leave aside for the 

Touching the Archives of the future we have seen reason 
to think that an increase in bulk is going on which may 
seriously imperil Archive work. 

We have suggested that much might be done by what is, 
in effect, a reversion to old procedure ; i. e. by making the 
Administrator the sole agent for the selection and destruction 
of his own documents : only we have to make sure that he 
destroys enough. 

Faced in fact by the prospect of impossible accumulations 
and realizing that the same thing will happen to the Archivist 
of the future which has happened to us (i. e. that once these 
accumulations become Archives * there will be insuperable 

1 Cp. our definition of the point at which documents become Archives, above, 
Part I, § 2 (e). 

1 52 MODERN ARCHIVES parthi 

difficulties in the way of any system of selection and destruction 
which can be devised) , we propose to try to prevent the accumula- 
tions occurring at all ; to deal with the matter before documents 
come to the Archive state and the Archivist's custody. 

On the other hand, we must see that our Administrator 
does not revert too completely to primitive habits and destroy 

§ 9. The work of the Archive Maker 

Let us begin by setting down the desired qualities for our 
Administrator in respect of Archive-making. 

(i) The Archives of the future must have the same 
qualities as those of the past ; therefore, any line of action 
we lay down for him must not be based on the hypothetical 
needs of the historian of the future : 

(ii) he must leave memorial of all the proceedings of 
importance which occur in his office : this provided for, 

(iii) he must preserve as little as possible : 

(iv) he must deposit (i. e. turn his documents into 
Archives) as regularly as possible, and thereafter leave them 
undisturbed : and 

(v) he must arrange and classify in such a way as to help 
the Archivist as much as possible ; we wish to imitate the 
good qualities, but there is no need to repeat the confusions 
of the past. 

The last two of these may mean a number of carefully 
framed regulations ; but the first three appear to be to some 
extent conflicting and they constitute the real crux of the 
whole matter. 

§ 10. The Golden Rule of Archive Making 

It is agreed that the accumulation of documents in an 
office is to be cut down as far as possible ; but at the same 
time the basis of accumulation is to be no other than that 


which it has been in the past. Concerning the particular 
varieties of Register, File, or Index required in different offices 
there will certainly be various opinions, but concerning the end 
which their preservation is to serve there can be only one : 
it is (to go back to our original investigation of the beginnings 
of Archive making x ) that they may serve as ' a convenient 
form of artificial memory ' ; that the Administrator, called 
upon to take up any piece of business, may not be dependent 
on his own memory, but find a summary of all that has been 
done in the past on this matter in his files. Those files should 
therefore cover the existence and functioning of the Office as 
a whole and the work of all its departments, subdivisions, and 
members in their official capacity : neither more nor less. It 
follows that an ideal set of office papers of this description 
should furnish us with the standard we require for our Adminis- 
trator's work in connexion with the making of his collection 
of documents. 

Now it is clear that such a set of papers should supply 
information as to the Authority which enables either the 
Office as a whole or any of its responsible officials to take 
action ; as to the action which has already been taken on 
various occasions in the past ; and as to the business actually 
in hand at the present moment. But it is equally clear that, 
supplied with this information, any person of a suitable standard 
of knowledge, intelligence, and character could after due study 
of the Office documents proceed to carry on the Office work. 
It appears then that the golden rule for the Administrator, so 
far as concerns his papers, must be to have them always in 
such a state of completeness and order that, supposing himself 
and his staff to be by some accident obliterated, a successor 
totally ignorant of the work of the office would be able to 
take it up and carry it on with the least possible inconvenience 
and delay simply on the strength of a study of the Office 

1 Above, Part II, § i. 

i 5 4 MODERN ARCHIVES part m 

§11. Conclusion 

Since this book was first written I have frequently had pro- 
pounded to me four questions. First, is it not a fact that since 
Archives have begun to be used freely the knowledge that his 
Office documents may one day figure as historical evidences has 
affected the conduct and point of view of their compiler ? Next, 
at what point do the makers of Archives begin to be self- 
conscious — to keep, as it were, an eye on posterity ? Then, how 
far is the resultant deterioration in Archives general ? And 
finally, supposing we do secure the most careful and conscien- 
tious practices on the part of Archive-makers in regard to the 
documents which they preserve or destroy, how far even so can 
we count upon eliminating the ' self-conscious ' element ? 

In reply we may begin by remarking that certain types of 
Archives are much more immune from this danger than others 
because the writer is merely a person employed to record facts. 
The Accountant (by which word I do not mean the Financier 
making a statement but the clerk who puts down and adds up 
items of receipt and expenditure) is concerned only with certain 
arithmetical rules in the application of which he will be checked 
by an Auditor : if he thinks at all of other readers who may use 
his Records in the future he thinks of them only as a fresh set of 
Auditors : and mutatis mutandis the same may be said of many 
compilers of Minutes and Registers : they fear no criticism 
except on the point of accuracy. The trouble comes when the 
anticipated criticism is not to be directed at the way in which 
the writing was done but at the conduct or views which the 
writing reveals. 

It follows that confidential correspondence and the 
memoranda and comments written, or at least authenticated, 
for office purposes by responsible persons with their own hands 
(types of document which have bulked increasingly in Archives 
ever since the practice of writing became general x ) are much 
more likely to suffer from the ' self-consciousness ' of the writer 
than those of a more formal and routine character. They may 

1 i. e. in the i6th century and later. 


suffer even though the writer has not any reason to believe that 
his words will be read by critical eyes in the immediate future : 
they will almost certainly suffer if he has. 

The matter is by no means one of mere academic interest : it 
has an obvious bearing on the historical criticism of documents 
of a certain kind and also on policy in the matter of opening up 
such Archives to public inspection. Apart from a question 
(which certainly arises x ) of the propriety of protecting high 
officials from unfair criticism it would seem that we have to 
recognize the possibility that the actually responsible adminis- 
trator may seek refuge in methods of communication (there are 
now plenty at his disposal) which leave no written remains : in 
which case we shall revert for practical purposes to the medieval 
state of Administration when the actual writing was very seldom 
done by any but inferior hands and the most vital part of an 
important transaction was liable to be left unrecorded. 

How far we have already reached this stage is a question 
which must be left for the future Historians of the year 1 936 to 
decide. Meanwhile we may proceed to discuss means by which 
the results of modern Office machinery can, if the users of that 
machinery choose, be equated with those of earlier times. 

1 It has actually been discussed publicly in recent years in relation to the Confidential 
Minutes of high officials in Public Offices in this Country. 



§ i. Introductory 

If our definitions and the conclusions as to Archive value 
upon which we have proceeded so far are correct, all we have 
said regarding the treatment of Archives of the past may be 
taken by those who will as directly introductory to the sections 
in which we shall now discuss the Archives of the Future. We 
began by investigating the evolution of Archives and the 
stages by which they have reached us and discovered therein 
the foundation of those qualities which give to Archives their 
distinctive character and value ; and we went on to formulate 
the rules by which those qualities may be preserved unimpaired 
in the present ; treating finally a matter which lies on the 
borderland between the old and the new, the question of 
selection and destruction. Since, then, our object must be 
to ensure that the Future shall be provided by our time with 
Archives at least as good in quality as those which the Past 
has bequeathed to us, much of what we have said concerning 
the Archives of the past will hold good in relation to those 
of the present and future : the rules as to care and custody, 
numeration and classification, will be the same ; 1 the adven- 
tures to which Archives may be liable in the course of trans- 
mission 2 will be the same ; the same lessons may be drawn 
from the errors and successes of the Past in Archive-keeping. 3 
But there is one matter entirely new : whereas up to the present 
we have been concerned only with the preservation of Archive 
quality we have now to consider the possibility of creating it : 
that is to say, we have to try to balance between the desire to 
provide for the needs of the Future and a determination to 

1 Above, Part II, §§ 5-9. 
2 Part II, § 2. 3 Appendix V (i). 


copy the impartiality of the Past ; to lay down lines for Archive- 
making to follow now, while excluding any possibility of what 
should be Archives becoming propaganda for posterity. This 
problem and that of bulk, which if not new is at least very 
much intensified in our time, will mainly occupy our attention 
in the next few sections. 

We had better, perhaps, disclaim from the first any intention 
of dictating upon points of detail in Archive-making. The 
questions we are discussing relate to all Archives alike, public 
and private, in all Countries. The range of subjects covered 
and the necessary variety of procedure are thus so enormous 
that to attempt anything more than the quotation of a few 
examples and the formulation of certain essential principles 
would merely be impertinent. Keeping in view, then, always 
our purpose, which is to equate the qualities, physical and 
moral, of future Archives with those of the past, while reducing 
them at the same time to a reasonable bulk, we may begin by 
laying down certain desiderata which all compilers of Archives, 
in the manner most suited to their individual needs, should try 
to secure. 

§ 2. Materials, Old and New 

We may start by dealing with the initial questions of 
materials ; for materials too (as well as the moral qualities 
of Archives) have been gravely compromised by modern usage : 
papers, in particular, have suffered from the introduction of 
woodpulp as a material, especially that variety of it known 
as mechanical woodpulp ; and writing from the introduction 
of aniline dyes and typewriting ribbons and transfer papers 
of inferior quality. Our first aim must be to secure that the 
Archives of the present and future shall be as lasting as those 
of the past materially. 

(a) Paper. Here we have another subject in regard to which 
there has been much development since this book was first 
written. It is one of very great importance to Archivists, 
especially in view of the increasing disuse of parchment for 
Record purposes : moreover the Archivist shares the interest in 

158 ARCHIVE MAKING part iv 

a very difficult question with a large number of other people — ■ 
with all those, in fact, but notably the Librarians, who are con- 
cerned with the conservation of printed matter. Alarm at the 
undoubted badness of some modern papers, and interest as to 
the possible quality of others, though they had manifested them- 
selves long before, were focussed by the report of an international 
Committee * in 1928 and since then there have been inquiries 
from different angles 2 in many countries. We may be content 
in the present instance to base a few specialized inquiries from 
the Archivist's angle on the Report of an English Committee : 3 
while emphasizing the fact that there is a large and important 
literature elsewhere. 4 The Report cited, though not pretending 
bibliographical completeness, contains a brief historical sum- 
mary of the question from the publication of John Murray's 
Practical Remarks on Modern Paper in 1829 down to the Charlotten- 
burg researches of the German Government in 1885 and 1896, 
the important inquiry by the Society of Arts in 1898, the Ameri- 
can results published in 1908 and 1909 and more recent 

(b) Paper, continued : recent Reports. We need not here go into 
the general question further than to say that though authorities 
everywhere are agreed on the desirability of setting up officially 
recognized standards and though much progress has been made 
in some countries 5 in this direction the problem of ensuring 
that due advantage is taken of the aids to correct procedure thus 
provided is still far from being settled : this is indeed, by general 
consent, the major difficulty of the situation. As to the causes of 
deterioration (other than maltreatment in use) there is little 
dispute : it may result from various imperfections in manufac- 

1 Convened by the Institut International de Cooperation Intellectuelle. 

2 For instance, interest in Scandinavia is not unnaturally directed to the positive 
question of the possibilities of wood-pulp. 

3 The Durability of Paper, being the Report of a Special Committee set up by the 
Library Association, published in 1930. 

4 Notably in America as a result of researches in the Department of Agriculture, the 
Department of Commerce and the Government Printing Office, all of which have from 
time to time published valuable Reports. 

5 See for instance remarks in the Report (p. 10) on the subject of Official procedure 
in America: other Countries might also be cited. 


turing methods, from the use of unsuitable or impure substances 
in the processes of manufacture and from the nature of the 
materials used for the actual c furnish ' of the paper x : but 
given proper attention the first two of these dangers may be 
avoided with comparative ease ; the determining factor in cost, 
and therefore in quality, is the furnish. 

Grading papers accordingly we arrive at a rough classifica- 
tion in four divisions mainly by materials : 

(i) all-rag papers, the best of which are hand-made and 
animal-sized ; 

(ii) all-chemical-wood papers : 

(iii) papers made of esparto, straw and the like ; and 

(iv) ' mechanical-wood ' papers, such as those used for 

There is some dispute as to the relative positions of (ii) and (iii) 
above and it is not impossible that material other than wood 
(for instance, esparto), when properly prepared, might be 
proved to be as good as the best ' chemical wood \ But two 
facts emerge : 

(1) that the all-rag paper, unless it is very badly made 
indeed, is superior to any other ; and 

(2) that the hand-made, animal-sized, linen-rag paper is the 
only one whose c permanence ' can be guaranteed on 
the basis of actual experience of the effect of years. 

(It is proper to interpolate here the remark that what we 
have to say in this place is based only on experience of 
climatic conditions similar to those of England : there is no 
doubt that in tropical regions what is ' permanent ' in 
Europe might be found to be subject to deterioration. 2 ) 

1 As a general reference book on the subject of paper making see C. F. Cross and 
E. J. Bevan, Text Book of Paper-Making (5th Ed., 1920). 

2 I have seen a number of examples which seem to prove that good rag paper from 
Europe may, without any special maltreatment, decay in an extraordinary way if exposed 
to a tropical climate. There is evidence that the ink with which the writing on such 
papers is done may be a contributing factor in deterioration, presumably owing to the 
presence of acid elements. 

160 ARCHIVE MAKING part iv 

Having examined the questions of manufacture and material 
the Committee went on to the more difficult problem of deter- 
mining how far it could advocate with any chance of success a 
general use of Grade I papers for all work of importance ; and 
came regretfully to the conclusion that, to be practical, it must 
recommend the use of a Grade II paper for work for which it 
was desired to secure transmission only to a reasonably distant 
posterity. At this point we may examine the matter from the 
special point of view of the Archivist. 

In the first place we have to note that there is no difficulty in 
arranging for a supply of different types of paper for different 
types of business (heavy and light, thick and thin, and with this 
or that tensile strength or resistance to wear or folding) without 
altering any standards of quality. Secondly we must admit that 
Archivists may almost certainly (on the grounds of expense) be 
forced in some instances to accept, like the Librarian, the use of 
Grade II papers, or inferior Grade I, for certain agreed classes 
of documents. Naturally, the good Archivist will shrink from 
making a recommendation to this effect in regard to things 
which by all his standards ought to have the greatest possible 
measure of permanence : and will also say that to select certain 
documents (or recommend that their compilers should select 
them) for preferential treatment in the matter of materials is 
against every principle we have so far maintained. Unfor- 
tunately the lapse from principle seems to be inevitable. One 
can only hope, and strive to ensure, that it may occur as seldom 
as possible ; x and do everything possible to secure adequate 
tests of all new grades of material and new methods of 

(c) Paper, continued : Control of Use. But the real difficulty 
of the Archivist has not yet been stated : it lies simply in the 
fact that a large proportion of the documents he is to conserve 
come from without, so that their material is a question over 
which neither he nor anyone with whom he has influence has 
any control. This is frankly a problem we cannot set out to 

1 It is hardly necessary to say that in the matter of repairing paper, which is to be 
incorporated in older documents, there should be no lowering of standard. 


solve ; for it is largely a matter of public education : at most 
we may suggest that the Archivist should urge the Department 
regulating such matters in any institution with which he is 
officially connected to adopt a policy of doing as they would be 
done by. It is often said that the top copy of a typed letter of 
importance should be on Record quality paper : but, this point 
settled, there are two schools of opinion, one which would send 
the superior copy to its correspondents, and the other which 
would keep it for its own Archives : the truth of course is that 
there should be two copies on first-quality paper. 

In later Sections we shall be concerned to point out the 
importance of the work which may be done by the ' Registry ' 
section in any Office to ensure the quality of the documents 
which will one day be Archives : and one of its functions (we 
shall suggest) should be the enlightened control of stationery 
supplies. For the moment we need only point out a few of the 
ways in which such control may be exercised in the matter of 
paper and the other materials to be mentioned in our next few 

(i) In every important Office there should be someone who 
keeps himself abreast of the latest developments in the manu- 
facture of paper and of any other writing materials or instru- 
ments which his Office is likely to employ : 

(ii) he should grade all materials selected for use according 
to their permanence or impermanence ; and 

(iii) ensure that there is a sufficient supply not only of good 
paper, etc., for work of a permanent character but also of bad 
(cheap) paper whose use for ephemeral purposes may counter- 
balance the expense of the better material : 

(iv) he should see that his grades are so easily distinguishable 
(e.g. by use of a coloured paper for the cheap grade) that no 
one will have any excuse for not using them correctly : * 

(v) he should remember that good materials will be wasted 
if they are not given a good form of make-up : and know a 

1 The writing surface of paper need not be seriously affected by its cost. 

1 62 ARCHIVE MAKING part iv 

sufficiency about binding, filing, boxes and folders : 1 and 

(vi) he should keep an eye on the growing possibilities of 
photographic reproduction. 

(d) Inks. 2 Here there is no great difficulty, for good modern 
writing inks are still gallo-tannate and ferro-tannate and so 
correspond with medieval inks which have stood the test of 
time. Coloured inks are made with dyes none of which is 
known to be immune from fading, though purple and green are 
generally worse than red in this respect. It should be noted that 
true ink is a stain which soaks into the fibres of the writing 
material. The so-called Chinese and Indian inks are pigments 
adhering to the surface ; and being made of pure carbon are 
from the point of view of fading ideal : but for permanence 
they depend on the adhesive medium with which they are 
made up. 

The best black printer's ink (carbon on an oil basis) has been 
proved by time to be absolutely safe and this should always be 
used with stamps ; which, for that reason, should be of metal : 
rubber stamps and the dyes used with them are all suspect. 
If colour is required the best vermilion printer's inks should be 
safe : but true vermilion is probably not used very often in 
their manufacture. 

(e) Paints. The last remark may lead to a sentence on this 
subject : true natural colours are still obtainable either for oil 
or water mediums and should always be demanded : it is also 
important that the paints should be made up from the most 
finely levigated pigment. 

(f) Typewriters. Carbon is again the pigment used on the 
best black ribbons and transfer paper, and no others should be 

1 On all these subjects the Office which compiles documents should be in touch with 
the Archivist who will have to keep them. 

2 On this subject, as on that of Paper, there is now a large literature as a result of 
various official and unofficial tests and reports : and the early tests by the Prussian 
Government and those made in America must still be cited. A good general work is 
C. Ainsworth Mitchell and T. C. Hepworth, Inks: their Composition and Manufacture . . . 
(3rd ed., 1924). A large work of the 17th century — Caneparius, De Atramentis (London, 
1660) — is historically interesting and several of the early Writing Masters' Books contain 


employed. Here, however, the difficulty of the adhesive medium 
is particularly felt : and though it is true that writing done with 
a well-maintained machine, properly struck, is not immediately 
liable even to smearing, it is probable that permanent safety 
may in some cases be found to necessitate the use of a fixative 

It should be noted that if the productions of any of the 
processes by which typewriting is multiplied are to be used for 
record purposes the only safe ones are those which use a species 
of black printer's ink : it must also be observed that the quick- 
drying papers so favoured for use with these machines are not of 
Record quality and should not be allowed, at any rate for copies 
which are to be preserved. 

(g) Pencils. Black is again the only colour which has been 
proved permanent and pure graphite x should be used if possible: 
laboratory tests indicate that some colours and makes of 
' chalks ' are more lasting than others : but none can be 
guaranteed. Pencil writing is of course particularly liable to 
perish through rubbing and important documents written thus 
will almost certainly require a fixative : a solution of white 
shellac is generally used ; or the size recommended above for 
use in repairing will be found efficient. 

(h) Paper Fasteners. We may take the opportunity to con- 
demn the permanent use of any kind of metal fastening for 
papers, and that for more than one reason : but the popular 
type of steel or iron clips must be excluded in particular because 
they almost invariably rust ; and the stain and even destruction 
of paper which results is apparently incurable. The verdigris 
from brass though undesirable is not as a rule positively harm- 
ful. The regulation should be that only non-corroding metal 
fasteners are allowed and even these are not to be left per- 
menently in position. 

(z) Packing Materials and Methods. The recommendations on 
this subject made above 2 apply as much to the compiler of 
Archives as to the Archivist : and it cannot be too strongly 

1 The earliest known writing in this material in English Records is of the 16th century. 
2 PartII§5(/). 

1 64 ARCHIVE MAKING partiv 

emphasized that to provide from the start for a suitable make-up 
for office papers is equally in the interest of the documents 
themselves, of the Office which has them in current use, and of 
the Archivist who will presently have to take them over. 
Experience continually shews the amount of unnecessary wear 
and destruction which papers incur while still in current use 
through being (for instance) inadequately fastened together by 
a string in one corner. The work of the office paper-keeper, too, 
is rendered more difficult, less efficient and (though it is true 
most offices have still to be converted to this view) ultimately 
more costly by the fact that methods of make-up and storage are 
so often a matter of chance rather than thought. Finally in the 
case of large Archives which receive periodical deposits from 
connected Offices it frequently happens that the transfer of a 
great bulk of documents whose make-up for permanent pur- 
poses has not previously been considered produces a problem 
which, if not actually insoluble, strains severely the resources of 
either transmitter or receiver in the matters both of labour and 
material : whereas if the compiling Office had (after due 
consultation) arranged to make up its documents, as they 
accrued, in an approved style the expense of time and money 
would not have been felt. 

(j) New Materials. With the problems of the unfamiliar 
materials which may at some future time be added to our cares 
we cannot attempt to deal here otherwise than by a recom- 
mendation that the Chemist shall in all cases be consulted and 
that the Archivist shall remember always that even the best of 
opinions from such a source cannot have the same credit which 
attaches to the knowledge based on actual experience : in other 
words that all unfamiliar materials added in our own day must 
be carefully watched for unforeseen developments. 

That new materials will be added seems inevitable. Already 
in 1 910 the municipality of Brussels was considering the question 
of the preservation of cinematograph films : x and though even 
now this problem has not engaged the attention of Archivists 
generally its recognition cannot long be delayed. The latest 

1 U organisation des Archives de la ville de Bruxelles (Brussels, 19 10). 


addition to the number of great national Repositories clearly 
anticipates the inclusion of the film and the sound record 1 in 
the machinery of Public Administration and their subsequent 
preservation as Archives. The results of its experience will be 
awaited with interest : nor can we set a limit to other 

(k) New Forms. The novelties which the modern office- 
furnisher and stationer have introduced concern (though the 
fact is not always recognized) both the compiler of Archives 
and the Archivist ; but in varying degrees. Generally, since 
office convenience naturally secures first consideration, the 
point of view of the Archivist is apt to be neglected unless he 
takes the matter up in time himself. For instance the large card 
cabinet, admirable for office purposes as substitute for a register, 
may cause great trouble later when the question of production 
to students arises : 3 and in fact the Archivist will probably 
be wise to work for the exclusion of this form so far as possible 
in the case of documentary classes intended for permanent 
preservation. On the other hand the loose-leaf register 3 and 
the rubber stamp for signature 4 (to take only two examples) are 
forms which ought to exercise the mind of the responsible 
official as well as troubling the Archivist, owing to the openings 
they give for fraud or mistake : a Court of Law (to push the 
matter to its logical conclusion) might well question the 
authenticity of either. 5 But here we are coming very near to 
the subject of our next section. 

1 The new National Archives at Washington provides for a section to deal with them. 

2 This would almost certainly involve a new make-up in which the cards would be 
numbered, and perhaps guarded and filed together, in small sections. If they are to be 
kept loose I should regard fifty as the largest number which could be produced together 
with any security against misplacement or loss : and smaller units than this would be 

3 See some remarks of Mr. Justice Bennet on the subject of loose-leaf minute books 
in connexion with Section 120 of the Companies Act, 1929, reported in The Times of 
10 October, 1935 : Secretaries who wish to use this form for important Minutes would 
probably be wise not only to number each leaf but to have them individually authenticated 
by the chairman's signature. 

4 At least one Government Department in London has found it necessary to rule that 
' procuration ' signatures may not be used on letters containing proposals which involve 
expenditure of public money. 

5 See above, p. 10, remarks on the quasi-legal element in Archive quality. 

1 66 ARCHIVE MAKING part iv 

§ 3. New Methods of doing Business ; and their 
Appearance in Archives 

Having to some extent equated the materials of our new 
Archives with those of the old, we are still left with the task 
of doing the same for new business methods. Such a method 
is the personal interview, the possibilities of which have been 
enormously increased by new facilities for travel and by the tele- 
phone, and which, by the addition of new mechanical facilities, 
may have further extension yet before it : further, there is the 
personal letter, multiplied by the modern extension of postal 
facilities : there is the telegram, which brings us a new problem 
in the shape of the addition of a third party to the two primarily 
concerned in any piece of business : and there is the letter typed 
from dictation which brings in the same complexity in a modified 

Now it is to be remembered that, however different our 
modern methods of conducting business may be, their results, 
if they are to be preserved in the form of Archives, can still 
be of only those three kinds to which we have already referred 
several times — documents received, documents dispatched, and 
memoranda, &c, circulated in the Office. Our first task, 
therefore, is to secure that written memorials of business done 
after the new fashions shall be made in forms which can be 
assimilated to the old classes. Every office should be concerned 
with the framing of rules to this end. 

(a) Conversations and Telephone Messages. Here the danger 
is more generally that of under- than of over-production of 
Archives. We have described already cases where, consciously 
or unconsciously, the Archive-maker is influenced by personal 
feeling in his choice of methods of communication. Here we 
are to deal with occurrences of a more ordinary kind : 
a good example, though perhaps an extreme one, is offered by 
the case of a temporary local Administration which was doing 
excellent work during the War and which was asked by the 
controlling Public Department in London to forward its 
Minute Books periodically for inspection : it replied to the 


effect that it had none and would not know how to enter them 
up if it had ; its whole working day being, so to speak, one long 
Board Meeting : all its internal business, in fact, was being 
conducted by a series of private conversations between those 
responsible for the transaction of its business. It is possible, 
of course, that the work here done was of such a nature as to 
be adequately recorded in the correspondence which passed ; 
but it is quite certain that in some cases the two modern 
methods of doing business to which we have referred result 
in less than the desirable amount of record being kept, and 
we may therefore call attention to the principles which must 
govern any rules made to meet this danger. It will be the 
business of any person or office laying down such rules to 
ensure that automatically and invariably private conversations 
and telephone messages, where they have any result upon the 
business transacted by the Office or Administration, shall be 
reduced to writing in a form which may be readily assimilated 
to the ordinary Letters or Memoranda of the office ; and that 
this shall be done by the person or persons responsible in each 

(b) Copies of dictated letters and telegrams. We have already 
dealt with the matter of paper to be employed for documents 
which it is intended to preserve as Archives, but may be allowed 
to emphasize it here because the paper on which telegrams are 
officially communicated, and the thin ' flimsies ' used for taking 
copies of letters typed, are so definitely not of the desired 
standards as a general rule. Apart from this it is to be noted 
that here, since both these forms of communication imply the 
entry into the business of an extra personality, it is particularly 
necessary that whatever system is employed shall secure 
authentication of the copy or original preserved by the responsible 
official who sends or receives it — not by a typist or messenger 
of any grade. Thus authenticated these documents take the 
ordinary position of Letters In or Out under the older Archive 

(c) Personal Letters. The use of personal letters in business, 
whether private or public, is a practice generally and rightly 

1 68 ARCHIVE MAKING part iv 

condemned. We may safely say so because we have here the 
advantage of numerous examples drawn from the past — indeed 
from all periods. The vast private collections in England, 
to some of which we have already referred x and to which the 
Reports of the Historical MSS. Commission furnish an Introduc- 
tion, contain in many cases enormous quantities of what are 
really State Papers ; and the existence of these in their present 
position, if it is not directly due to the fact that they were 
addressed personally, at least reflects the point of view with 
regard to custody which goes naturally with such carelessness 
of form. Even at the present day the frequent appearance of 
volumes of the ' private ' correspondence of prominent states- 
men, which are eagerly read because they supply information 
upon public events which cannot be obtained from the Archives 
in which it should be preserved, is an eloquent testimony to 
the dangers accompanying this practice of personal direction 
and to its commonness. The rule which was insisted on, often 
ad nauseam, in the British Army, and doubtless elsewhere, 
during the War — that communications on official matters must 
be addressed to the Office concerned and not to a person in it — 
was approved then because matters were commonly dealt with 
in which the difference between correct and incorrect procedure 
might be that between life and death in the event ; but it is 
equally true in the affairs of civil life and in private business. 
When, in spite of all precautions, private correspondence does 
obtain a place in official or public business the obvious rule 
should be that official or business action taken upon a private or 
personal letter automatically makes that letter an official or business 
document, to be treated as such : that is to say, it ceases then 
and there to be the property of the person to whom it was 
addressed and his office should see to it that official ownership 
is invariably asserted. 

(d) General Results of the New Methods. One result of the 
new methods of doing business common in our time is clearly 

1 See above, Part II, § 2 (e) ; where among others the very obvious case of the Cecil 
MSS. is quoted. We deal with this subject at more length below under the heading 
of Confidential Documents (Part IV, §11 (c)). 


to make official action in any large office much more personal, 
to cause a general decentralization within the Office ; and we 
may remark that it seems unlikely, considering the complica- 
tion of modern affairs and methods, that we shall ever revert 
altogether to the simple system under which one section or 
one clerk could control, for example, all the copying of out- 
going letters with a single register. Excepting always the 
Archives of Accounting Branches and the Minutes of Meetings 
of Councils or Committees, 1 the system of mixed records (the 
file system to which we have alluded above, or something like 
it) has returned to us in all large businesses or offices and seems 
likely to stay, because it is the natural pendant to the devolution 
of business within the Office. 2 

§ 4. Indexes 

We have already said that there is a close connexion between 
the modern use of rather loose and primitive methods of 
Archive-keeping and the modern system of indexing. This 
modern indexing is of course only a recognition of the old 
truth that in the first stage of making an index every single 
fact must have a single slip : all that our times have done is 
to perfect certain mechanical means by which the slips them- 
selves (instead of the later stage, the paged list) become useable 
for general and rapid reference. The convenience of course is 
that the Index is never finished and yet always available. The 
reason why we mention it here is because the new system has 
removed one of the safeguards of orderly and careful Archive- 
making by rendering carelessly made and badly arranged 

1 It is noteworthy that these two, the only types of formal Archive-making which 
are really common at the present day, begin first to appear with frequency just at the 
time (roughly the Renaissance) when other Archives were beginning to be emancipated 
from the bondage of Form. Thus in England their rise corresponds in date with that 
spread of the writing habit to all classes which we have already described and the 
consequent adaptation of the informal letter to all business purposes. 

2 The file system, which is the same as the loose-leaf system, is also the one most 
in harmony with modern methods of mechanical writing, reproduction, and indexing. 

170 ARCHIVE MAKING partiv 

documents useable for the purposes of current reference. It 
is also worthy of note that there is a natural tendency to 
multiply unnecessary Indexes ; and there may be a tendency 
to keep them. 

§ 5. Over-production of Documents 

Although some of the difficulties we have noted above 
do not lead to over-production this is, as we have said, the 
general tendency in modern Archive-making, which we are 
to avoid if possible. Now, there are two possibilities. In the 
first place there is the case of those documents which must be 
made but which we desire, if possible, to arrange not to keep : 
i. e. the documents which for business and office reasons have 
to be made and have to be kept for a while but might 
conceivably be destroyed as no longer useful later. This is 
the most difficult part of the matter because we seem likely 
at this point to come back to what we most wished to avoid, 
the intrusion of the Historian and the historic interest into 

The second matter we have to consider is the more straight- 
forward case of those documents which are made at present 
but which are unnecessary — the copies (to take an obvious 
example) of letters which do no more than to fix an appoint- 
ment or acknowledge receipt or the like. 

§ 6. A Remedy : Re-introduction of Control 

All the troubles we have seen attending modern Archive- 
making come back to a single thing, absence of control : 
there is no longer the control caused by comparative shortage 
of materials or labour ; the freedom from fixed forms is again 
a freedom from control ; the system, under which every 
Department of an Office not only drafts and prepares Letters 
out but at the same time produces copies of them to be preserved, 
is an uncontrolled system. With the lack of control incidental 


to a state of decentralization goes also a lack of co-ordination. 
What is the remedy for all this ? Clearly the introduction, or 
re-introduction, of some form of control ; we have already 
a centre to govern policy, we require one to govern procedure 
in every office ; a development of the already widely adopted 
idea of a Central Registry. We have said ' in every office ' 
because, even if the office is too small to have an independent 
Registry, yet its Archives are, it is probable, relatively as big 
as the larger ones and therefore present the same problems. 
If, then, it desires that those Archives should maintain their 
quality it will have to arrange for the work which we have 
assigned to the Registry, even though it may not keep a 
separate staff to do it. 1 

§ 7. New Functions of the Registry 

The duties, then, of the Central Registry will be something 
much more than its present ones of registering and distributing 
the incoming letters and dispatching the outgoing. It must 
control, and control absolutely, in the light of the observations 
we have already made, all matters affecting the accumulation 
of Office papers. Obviously there must be a rule knowing no 
exceptions that Registry controls every stage of the distribution 
and transit of every official document. But there will be 

(a) Materials. The control of Registry over this question 
(the main details of which we have already 2 discussed) is 
closely dependent on another point, dealt with below — the 
decision as to documents which are to be kept permanently. 
Because an economical office will use low-grade papers and inks 
for fugitive pieces and first-class ones only for documents 
likely to be preserved. The formulation of rules on this subject 
will be part of the duties of Registry. In this connexion we 
may emphasize the extreme desirability of a generally recognized 
standard in these matters : it is obviously most important 

1 On this subject see again below, § 12. 2 See above, § 2. 

172 ARCHIVE MAKING part iv 

that all offices should do as they would be done by, sending out 
letters which the recipient is likely to wish to preserve written 
on a suitable paper with suitable ink or carbons. 

(b) Methods employed. Registry again will be responsible 
for the standing rules of the office regarding the method of 
making every variety of copy, memorandum, note of con- 
versation and so forth ; i. e. it will choose the form all office 
documents are to take with a view to reducing them to the 
simplicity of the old Archive forms, assimilating them, as we 
said above, to those already in existence. It will also lay down 
rules as to dating and authentication. 1 

(c) Preservation and destruction. The most difficult work of 
Registry will be the assumption of all responsibility of decision 
as to whether a document (original or copy) is to be preserved 
at all, and whether it is to be preserved for good or for a 
time only, or preserved for reconsideration later. Registry 
cannot, of course, control the work of the Executive side of the 
office, which must naturally decide itself whether it wishes to 
send a letter or address a memorandum to another Depart- 
ment ; but the sending and addressing will be done through 
Registry, and the latter will decide if a document itself, or a copy 
of it, is to be kept. In doing this last Registry will naturally 
invoke the aid of the Executive side when it is in any doubt ; 
but it is absolutely necessary that it should take the responsi- 
bility itself. On the other hand, the Executive may in some 
cases wish to preserve in a different order or form to that 
chosen by Registry, to preserve extra copies, or even to preserve 
temporarily where Registry would not propose to preserve at 
all. Individual cases of this kind, where the convenience or 
particular wishes of perhaps a single member of the Executive 
had to be met, might well be covered 2 by the making of extra 
copies and extra files ad hoc ; which would in no sense form 
a part of the documents officially preserved by Registry nor 
figure in its Registers. 

1 Above, § 3. 

2 See again below, § 10 (a), note, and (c) on this point. 


§ 8. The Records of the Registry itself 

We have spoken of Registers, the record of the proceedings 
of Registry itself ; and in a previous section we pointed out 
that it was the function of this department to re-introduce 
that central control of official documents which earlier adminis- 
trations obtained by a differentiation of their Archives upon 
highly formal lines and which those of our own time have 
lost precisely because modern tendencies are all towards 
devolution of duties within administrative offices and (conse- 
quently) towards the most primitive, personal, informal, and 
uncontrolled methods of Archive-making. 1 Under these circum- 
stances our ideal Register will assume ultimately something 
like the position of the ' Main Record ', the ligne capitate, 
which we discussed in an earlier section. It is important, 
therefore, to see what form it will take, or rather (since the 
form will probably vary infinitely with circumstances) upon 
what principles it will be constructed. Though, of course, it 
need not necessarily take this form we may visualize it for our 
immediate convenience, as a single book ruled in many columns; 
and see what these columns will contain. 

(a) Accession of Documents. Starting with the primary duties 
of Registry, we see that the record of its doings will contain, 
first, a column giving the date and, next, one giving the 
accession number of every official document which is made 
in or comes into the office ; i. e. of every official act, without 
exception, which takes the form of writing, provided that it 
duly passes through Registry. For safety we will add a third 
column, to contain the date of the document itself, which in 
the case of a letter received may be different from the register 

(b) Placing documents and connecting them with others. The 
next proceeding of Registry will be to assign the document, or 
a copy of it in the case of a letter which is to be dispatched, 
to a place — a file or jacket if the file system is in use — and to 

1 See above, Part II, § 6 (r) and (s) ; Part III, § i ; and in the present part (IV), 
§§ 3 (a) and 6. 

174 ARCHIVE MAKING partiv 

enter it on the cover or other place reserved for indexing the 
contents of that receptacle. This proceeding will furnish the 
entry for a fourth column in the Register ; which will take 
the form of the reference number of the File, &c. Details as to 
preceding documents in the same case will be furnished, as has 
been seen, by the File itself and possibly by a Catalogue of 
Files, but some recognized marking of the entry in the Register 
may be used to indicate when fresh business has caused the 
starting of a fresh file. A further establishment of the relation 
of the document in question to those which have gone before 
will be discussed when we come to our next column. 

(c) Description of Documents : Subject. The action by Registry 
which we have just described implies an examination into 
the subject of the document (which may or may not be 
facilitated by the writer having given a reference to some 
previous paper). The result of this examination will give us 
an entry (the subject in words) for our fifth column. To this 
may well be added the Register number of the last preceding 
document in the case (not its number on the File) : this addition 
need give no trouble if a rule is made that this Register number 
is put upon every document at the time it is first received and 
filed by Registry ; and it will mean that at any time it will be 
possible through the Register alone to trace back every step 
in a series of official actions. To suggest that on each occasion 
the Register keeper should turn back and post old entries 
forward to the new ones is perhaps to ask too much, though 
there is no doubt of the convenience of the practice if time and 
available staff permit. 

(d) Description of Documents : Nature. The Registration of 
our document is still incomplete, for we are not yet informed 
by the entries who is taking action in the case ; whether some 
one outside is applying to the Office, or the Office is dealing with 
some one outside ; or whether the process is internal, different 
divisions or departments consulting one another. 1 This require- 
ment will be met by columns 6, 7, and 8, in which it will be 

1 The case of other Office Memoranda of the nature of Accounts or Minutes is 
dealt with below. 


stated (column 6) that the document is received from such a 
person, or (column 7) that it is dispatched to such a person, or 
(column 8) that it is circulated between such and such divisions 
of the office. Needless to say, these entries will all be as brief 
as possible : column 8, for example, will probably take some 
such code form as ' A to G 2 ' ; this indicating that Division A 
has dispatched a minute to another department code-named 
G 2, on the subject given in column 5 (and perhaps in connexion 
with a previous document noted there) ; that the minute in 
question is in such a file, with or without previous documents 
bearing on the case (column 4) ; and that the dates of writing 
and dispatch were as given in columns 3 and 1. The use of 
a code letter, different coloured inks, underlining, or some such 
mechanical distinction will make it possible also for these 
columns to show, if that is thought necessary, whether the 
document took the form of a letter, telegram or note of telephone 
message or other conversation. 

(e) Distribution of Documents in the Office. The preliminaries 
necessary to action on the part of the Registry have thus 
been gone through and recorded — the operation will not take so 
long to perform as it has taken to describe — and it has now only 
to dispatch the document of which it has already filed a copy 
(Out-letter : column 7), to send the file to another department 
(Memorandum : column 8), or to put it on the table of that 
member of the staff whose business it is to deal with the matter 
involved (In-letter : column 6). This last proceeding may 
raise a question. In the case of the Memorandum the Register 
furnishes information as to the particular section of the office 
involved : is this not necessary also in the case of the corre- 
spondence (columns 6 and 7) ? To this the answer is that in 
these cases the whole office is acting through the person of one 
of its members, whereas in that of the Memorandum one section 
of the office is giving information to, or asking it of, another. 
In the first case the personalities involved are not material 
to the action, in the second they are an essential part of it. 
Of course for temporary purposes the distribution of the Office 
Files must be readily ascertainable, and a separate Transit 

176 ARCHIVE MAKING partiv 

Register * will be required for this purpose which will incident- 
ally show to whom or from whom each document came or went. 
But the question what particular member of the staff took 
action with regard to some person or body outside the office 
is not of permanent importance, because he is presumed not 
to do so without authority ; he is in respect of that action not 
himself but the Office. 

(/) The Resulting Register ; and Subsidiary Documents. We 
have now covered all the ordinary happenings with regard 
to any document which may pass through Registry, but for 
safety we may add a ninth column for Remarks to our Register : 
this will cover correction of errors, cross reference in special 
cases, and the like. It is not, of course, pretended for a moment 
that the imaginary system here sketched is an ideal one. 
Supposing that it were adopted many additions or modifica- 
tions might doubtless be found to render it more efficient, and 
there are many obvious adjuncts to it for which we have not 
attempted to formulate rules. Some (such as the Transit 
Register) have been mentioned in passing, and others will 
readily suggest themselves ; for example, a Register of typing 
put out and brought in may be needed ; strict rules are 
necessary to secure a smooth system by which fresh minutes 
added to a file are notified by the Executive branch to Registry ; 
an arrangement for temporary files, and for the enclosing of 
these in others when requisite, will have to be worked out ; 
the duties of distribution, of entering up the Register or Regis- 
ters, of keeping Indexes and so forth in the Registry itself, all 
require careful forethought ; in fine, we have not attempted to 
formulate Rules, 2 merely to lay down a principle in the guise of 

1 Such a Register will, of course, include many cases where no action is taken, 
the File being required for consultation only, so that there is nothing to enter in the 
Main Register. 

2 Without any intention of going into the details of Office Management we may 
perhaps take this opportunity of remarking that the possibilities of mechanical 
devices for saving labour in office work are still not always appreciated. In the present 
case, for example, it would suffice to supply every member of the Executive with 
coloured wafers, one of which he would stick on the outside of a file he was returning 
to Registry as an indication that he had added to its contents. Similarly if a 
rule were made that members of the staff when they required Files must apply 


an imaginary set of proceedings. There is little doubt that we 
might even devise totally different registering machinery, 
whereby (for example) under an office rule that all jackets or 
covers of files, with indexes attached, should be invariably 
preserved, and that these indexes should be entered up by 
Registry, and Registry only, the Register itself which we have 
been discussing might be reduced to little more than an index, 
with dates, accession numbers and subjects given, referring 
into these jackets. 

The fact remains, however, that we have sketched a method 
of obtaining automatically, regularly, and, from a point of view 
of space, economically a summary of every action in the Office 
which has taken the form of writing, provided these writings 
pass through Registry ; a summary which gives, with reference 
to the original documents in case details are required, the 
information that on such a date such a matter was raised in 
the form of such and such letters or messages received or 
dispatched or Memoranda circulated in the Office. It is worth 
noting in passing that in most offices nearly, if not quite, as much 
work as this is already done, though not in the same form or 
with the same object, at any rate upon the Office correspon- 
dence. There are, however, certain actions or rather proceed- 
ings of an Office which are committed to paper, but which 
cannot be said to pass through Registry, because they are not 
normally transmitted at all. We may turn aside for a moment 
to consider these in a separate section. 

§ 9. Minutes and Accounts 

All correspondence may be said, in a sense, to be a matter 
of question and answer : even a direct order implies an answer- 
ing consent, whether expressed in the form of an acknowledge- 
ment or understood. The Memoranda also, of which we have 
been speaking, passed as they are from one department to 
another, partake of the same character. And the bulk of the Lists, 

for them on a special card, these cards, placed in an index tray, would form at once, 
with practically no extra labour, the Transit Register referred to in (e) above. We 
have already alluded to the possibilities of code in many columns of our Register. 

178 ARCHIVE MAKING partiv 

Descriptions, Reports, Plans, and the like which may be 
expected to figure in the documentary collections of any large 
business will be, from the point of view of Archives, annexed x 
to either the Letters or the Memoranda. There are, however, 
certain varieties of business and corresponding varieties of 
documents in the Memoranda class which are not of this kind. 
These are notes of any kind of proceedings : the Register, for 
example, which we have been discussing, though it acts as 
a summary of and to some extent an index to the correspondence 
and the circulated Memoranda, is in its own capacity of Archive 
a series of Notes of the proceedings of Registry. More obvious 
examples are the Minutes of Committees and the like and those 
other Memoranda which consist of Accounts. We have, in fact, 
to distinguish between two uses of the same word Memoranda, 
and the same may be said for the word Minutes ; each is used 
in two incompatible senses, the one, as it were, active, the 
other passive : on the one hand we have Minutes or Memoranda 
in the sense we have already seen, meaning communications 
addressed by one part of an administration to another, and on 
the other the same words meaning a description, written at 
the time, of deliberations or other proceedings. The second 
class, including, as we have seen, two of the few remaining 
formal types of Records, is not one which can properly be 
accommodated to the routine of the Registry, whose business 
is essentially that of the movement of documents. As a con- 
sequence, apart from controlling them like other documents 
in the matter of method and material, Registry will not normally 
deal with these, and they will not figure in the Register. We 
shall return to the subject of these classes later. 

§ 10. The Use of the Register 

Reverting now to the more ordinary classes of documents 
and going back to the golden rule for Archive-making, which 
we propounded in an earlier section, we may claim for our 
Register that, with appropriate indexes, it would enable any 

1 Cp. above the definition of documents (Part I, § 2 (c) ). 


one to identify readily all the documents which would be 
necessary to put him au courant with any business in process 
in the Office. But would it not do more ? Would reference 
have to be made in all cases to the original documents which 
are summarized in the Register ? Would not this summary 
itself give all the necessary information ? 

(a) Documents which may be destroyed immediately. We have 
pointed out above that all correspondence and a large section 
of Office Memoranda consist in effect of question and answer. 
Now if the answer is No this fact would emerge from the entry 
in the Register of the letter, &c., which gave it ; at any rate 
a very simple regulation as to the making of these entries would 
secure that it did so. A moment's reflection will show that in 
any collection there are enormous numbers of letters which 
either directly or indirectly communicate a negative to some 
proposition previously made or implied. In all these cases 
our Register would supply all the information required for 
office reference ; which, it will be remembered, is the basis 
on which we are proposing to build up our collection : reference 
to the originals in these cases being quite unnecessary, it 
would seem that all of these documents might without loss 
to the Office be at once destroyed ; always provided that 
the Register is so organized that it can be absolutely relied 

Nor is this all. In a large proportion of such cases the 
previous letter in which the proposition had been made is 
also sufficiently represented by the Register entry ; which 
adds a further large number to our list of destructibles. More- 
over, it is not only the Noes which can go on to this list. Let 
us suppose for example that No. 4/2/107 (we will give it a 
complicated numeration) in our Register is described in 
Column 7 as being a letter addressed to such a person and in 
Column 5 as ' asking to arrange meeting ' : let us suppose 
further that a later document, a reply (No. 1 0/2/391) is 
described in Column 6 as from this same person, and in Column 
5 bears a reference to No. 4/2/107 and the remark £ appoint- 
ment 1 July '. Clearly both these letters may join the ranks of 

180 ARCHIVE MAKING part iv 

those which, thanks to the Register, need not be consulted nor, 
consequently, preserved, at any rate officially. 1 

(b) Cases reserved. There might of course be certain objec- 
tions to destroying all these documents immediately. The 
proposition, for example, which was originally refused might 
subsequently be brought up again and obtain a more favourable 
answer. Again, though the substance of a letter, the plain 
1 Yes ' or ' No ', raises no question, there might for a limited 
time be some point in the manner of its conveyance. And 
once more there is a large number of letters and messages of 
a formal character (receipts and acknowledgements, to take 
the most obvious example) preservation of which over a stated 
time is a matter of the provisions of the law. There is a residuum 
of cases (where, for example, a printed pro forma has been sent 
out) where certainly no record of dispatch other than that of 
the Register is necessary. 

(c) The Routine of Destruction. We have thus got already 
four classes : 

(i) where no copy need be made nor original kept ; 
(ii) where record of this kind must be preserved for a short 

time ; 
(iii) where a rather longer time of probation is required ; 
and (iv) where there is a long, but legally fixed, time of 


Obviously these have to be indicated in a further column 
in our Register (Column 10). Clearly also this entry may 
take the form of (i) a code mark indicating that no copy or 
original is kept, or (ii) , (iii) , and (iv) a code number (we suggest) 
indicating the respective periods after which (ii) and (iv) are 
to be destroyed, and (iii) to be destroyed if it has not in the 
interval been reconsidered. It will be both convenient and 
easy to have an Office Rule fixing the times for (ii) and (iii) ; 
that of (iv) is fixed by law. 

1 A member of the Executive staff may, of course, for his convenience, preserve 
special copies and notes which may or may not reappear in the Official Files preserved 
by Registry : files of such documents, however, will be his personal affair and will in 
no case form part of the Office Archives. 


Let us see how this will work. Documents in class (i) will 
be destroyed or in the case of Out-Letters provision may be 
made at the time their dispatch is being arranged for that no 
copies shall be filed ; only an entry made in the Register and 
in the File Index. For the rest, if summary Destruction Books 
are kept in the form of a Diary and are entered up daily under 
the days (a month, or six months, or six years ahead) when, 
according to the Rules, destruction of the document entered 
may take place, it will become a matter of routine to examine 
these books every day, see what papers are down for destruction, 
and duly draw and destroy them. Let us suppose, for example, 
that the document instanced above (No. 4/2/107) is registered 
on March 1st and has against it, in Column 10, (say) the 
figure 3, meaning that it is to be preserved for three months : 
the Diary for Destructions will show under date June 1st the 
entry ' 4/2/107 ', and on that day the Destructions Clerk, 
turning up the Diary, will duly extract this document from 
its file, make some arranged mark signifying deletion in the 
File Index and proceed at once to destroy it in whatever may 
be the prescribed way. We have already dealt with the actual 
process of destruction, but may take this opportunity to repeat 
the caution that documents having no official value may on 
occasion have one as curiosities, and that every care therefore 
must be taken, if destruction does not take place in the Office, 
to see that they are made valueless for any other purpose. 

We may add one further note at this point. It might be 
found useful to take the last precaution of passing documents 
drawn for destruction to that branch of the Executive which 
had originally handled them. The decision to destroy would 
not, except in very special cases, be reconsidered ; but the 
Executive would have the opportunity, if it wished, of preserv- 
ing them for a further period. The procedure for this could 
be made very simple — a matter of initials. See also the previous 

So much for the documents concerning which it can be 
said at the time that they are made or received that they 
are unnecessary. It will be noticed that we have made no 

1 82 ARCHIVE MAKING part iv 

attempt to prescribe the periods for which these three classes 
are to be kept. This is a matter for Office Rules, and it is even 
conceivable that an Office might work out for itself a system 
of graded periods of preservation applying to specified classes 
of documents ; though it would be unwise (because confusing) 
to have the number of these too large. We may remark, 
however, that arrangements must be made by which, when it 
does happen that during the period of preservation the decision 
for destruction is for any reason reversed, the document in 
question has its entry in Column i o of the Register corrected 
and is struck out of the Destructions Book ; otherwise, of course, 
it will be automatically destroyed. 

(d) Cases for further consideration. We may now go on to 
deal with the remainder of the documents in our Register. 
These will fall into two classes (to be distinguished by appro- 
priate marks in Column 10) : those which it is decided from 
the first to preserve ; and those (the majority) concerning 
which decision is postponed. This second class will necessitate 
another book in the same form as the Destructions Diary, but 
appointing dates not necessarily for destruction but for recon- 
sideration, which will take place in the same regular manner. 
The criterion for this reconsideration, in view of the rules for 
preservation we have laid down earlier, can only be a considera- 
tion whether the document does or does not mark a stage in 
advance in the line of action with which it is connected. We 
must not be understood as meaning that all negatives or failures 
or blind-alleys are to be ruled out in this way, because 
frequently the discovery that nothing can be done in a particular 
direction marks what is in effect a stage towards finding out 
what can be done. This process of consideration is, in fact, 
(unlike the routine work of destruction described above) , one 
calling for great skill and knowledge ; a matter to which we 
shall return again below. We must once again leave the fixing 
of this time to office ruling but may remark that a second or 
third period of preservation for reconsideration may on occasion 
be necessary, with corresponding annotations to Column 10 in 
the Register. 


(e) Final disposal. However many these reconsiderations 
may be the time will come ultimately when a final decision is 
reached : when, as in the case of the documents which were 
more summarily dealt with (whether for destruction or preserva- 
tion), Registry performs its last act in connexion with them. 
This last act means a final column x to add to our Register. 
In the case of the documents which were definitely put aside 
for preservation (and marked accordingly in Column 10) there 
is little to enter in this fresh column except perhaps a tick to 
indicate that they have been duly put aside : in the case of 
those which have come up for destruction and been destroyed 
another mark is added to show when that operation has been 
performed. Those which came up for reconsideration receive 
a mark signifying preservation or destruction when that stage 
is at last reached. A question which remains to be answered 
is — how long may documents go on being reconsidered ; what 
is the limit ? 

(f) The limit of current use and the passing of Documents into 
Archives. In a previous section we pointed out the necessity 
of ensuring that enough documents should be destroyed. It 
is, of course, with a view to securing this that we have been 
careful to make so much destruction a matter simply of Office 
Routine. Experience has shown that no other method will 
produce the desired result : it is so easy to let papers accumulate, 
and so difficult to dispose of them afterwards. On the other 
hand, we suggested that there might be a danger of keeping 
documents so long in suspense that eventually all, or nearly 
all, might come to be regarded as unimportant and be destroyed. 
Under the system we have outlined, this should not occur : for 
we have provided that documents not originally condemned 
should be either summarily marked for preservation or recon- 
sidered at regular intervals, with a view to ascertaining whether 
they did or did not advance the business of the Office at all ; 
and as soon as this is decided in the affirmative they would 

1 This column will form a convenient means of checking if and when a block of 
documents is handed over to a separate Archive Authority. The corresponding Registers 
should of course be handed over at the same time. 

1 84 ARCHIVE MAKING part iv 

automatically be marked for preservation. However, it would 
certainly be well to fix, if we can, some limit to the time during 
which they may be kept on probation. Unfortunately we 
here come up against the question how long documents can be 
said to remain in current use, and that is one which none 
but the Office concerned can settle. Perhaps, therefore, it 
would be best to rule that after a certain number of recon- 
siderations all documents should go into a class of what we 
may call Probationary Archives. At any time while they 
were in this state reconsideration might take place if desired ; 
and in this state they would continue until the time fixed by 
the Office at which their character of currency expired. They 
would then automatically pass, after, perhaps, a final scrutiny, 
to the status of Archives. Whether these were still preserved 
in the Office or relegated to a special Repository, they would 
now be regarded as having reached a stage when destruction 
was no longer possible under any circumstances : this stage 
being reached, it will be noticed, at the point at which the 
knowledge necessary for condemning them might be reasonably 
assumed to have lapsed. The last remark may lead us to 
suggest that the final scrutiny before they pass into Archives 
is the only point at which the consideration of historic interest 
might possibly intrude, and for this reason is to be employed 
only with due precaution : in most cases it would probably be 
best to omit it. 

§11. Classes of Documents Not Registered ; and Some 
Other Considerations 

We have now conducted the bulk of our documents through 
the various stages of their official existence up to either destruc- 
tion or the status of Archives. A number of points, however, 
remain to be discussed. 

(a) Minutes, Proceedings, and Accounts. In the first place 
we must bring up again the question of classes of documents 
which owing to their nature do not pass through Registry. 
There is much to be said for treating these invariably as 


Documents necessary to be preserved ; merely making the 
suggestion that Registry, in dictating their forms, must pay 
more attention than has been done in the past to confining 
them within the smallest reasonable limits. Alternatively it 
might be arranged for them to take their place in the processes 
of reconsideration along with the registered documents. What 
is quite clear is that here, as in the case of the documents we 
have already dealt with, if any destruction is to take place it 
must be before the memory of their administrative significance 
has had time to fade and, of course, before they are removed 
to the status of Archives. 

(b) Separate Treatment of ' Annexed ' Documents. It will no 
doubt be advisable in some cases, where very bulky documents 
are annexed to a single one of the documents which figure 
in the Register or perhaps to a series of those we have just been 
considering, to treat these for the purposes of destruction or 
consideration for destruction as separate entities, though of 
course without losing sight of their connexion. In the case of 
those which are registered, any difficulty might be overcome 
by a rule that such annexures are habitually to be given a 
separate registration number, with, of course, a note in the 
Remarks Column showing their connexion with the covering 
document ; they would then automatically be considered for 
destruction or preservation on their own merits, though with 
due regard to the requirements of the document to which they 
belonged. This would cover, for example, the case where 
several documents, all of which it might be desirable to preserve, 
had annexed to them copies of the same bulky document — 
say a printed catalogue — when cross reference to the place 
where a single copy was preserved might well meet all 

(c) Confidential Documents. Probably the greatest difficulty 
some Registries will have to contend with will be in connexion 
with Private or Confidential Correspondence and Memoranda. 
To a certain extent treatment of these must be a matter dictated 
by circumstances, but we may recall our previous remark that 
Registry must have control over these as over everything else 

1 86 ARCHIVE MAKING part iv 

in the way of official documents. If such a case, for example, 
should occur as the retaining of certain matters entirely in his 
own hands by the Head of an Office, it should still be possible 
for the documents involved to be registered under a code name 
with no specification of subject and with a reference to the 
special confidential safe or strong box ; if he is unwilling to 
consign to the Office Archives letters largely personal he may 
still deposit there a memorandum of the relevant portion of 

We have already pointed out a danger which may result 
from the personal feelings of administrators about certain 
aspects of their work : suggesting that it may lead to their using 
methods of communication other than writing. But even 
supposing that the documentary method is not discarded there 
is still reason to apprehend particular danger from abuse of the 
habit of treating in a special way documents of a ' confidential ' 
character : and it is probably to be feared very notably in 
Public Offices where there is a permanent staff presided over 
by a non-permanent head. Such a head x is independent of 
the ordinary office rules and is naturally liable to be influenced 
by political considerations. He is particularly inclined to take 
certain documents which are part of the Office Archives under 
his personal control, he might conceivably go so far as to 
suppress or garble, he is almost certain to regard not merely 
as confidential but as private letters and memoranda which 
were addressed to him personally or to which he personally 
attended. How far purely personal control of the highest 

1 Recently noted additions to the long list of ' strays ' from official custody in 
this country are the British Museum Additional Manuscripts, Nos. 37291, f. 208, and 
37292, ff. 49 and 121 to 130 (Wellesley Papers of the year 1810), which actually 
bear Foreign Office registration numbers. An interesting comment on the attitude 
of earlier Ministers to documents belonging to their Offices is furnished by an account 
of the Dunkirk Debate (1730) in Viscount Perceval's Diary in the Egmont MSS. 
(vol. i, p. 54 : Hist. MSS. Comm., 1920), where we find Walpole saying that Secre- 
taries of State ' at their pleasure when they left the office took away what they 
thought fit ' ; and Bromley taking credit because he did not ' stand upon ' this ' but 
surrendered them all.' I am indebted for these examples to Mr. C. S. B. Buckland. 

England, of course, is not peculiar in this matter; and in some foreign countries an 
attempt is made to deal with the problem by giving statutory powers of seizure to State 
Archivists : see (e. g.) the reply of Italy to question 8 in the Guide International des 
Archives already cited. 


executive acts is inevitable, how far it is conducive to public 
utility, it is not for us to decide : but nothing is potentially 
more destructive of Archive quality ; and as Archivists we 
are bound to point out what measures are necessary if this 
danger is to be avoided or limited. 

(d) Indexes and subsidiary Documents of Registry. We have 
made no attempt to lay down what varieties of Index a Registry 
may find it convenient to employ : they will vary with circum- 
stances. But it should be borne in mind that a distinction has 
to be made between those which are merely temporary con- 
veniences (for the destruction of which, as a matter of routine, 
provision should be made as it was made above in the case of 
correspondence) and those which are in reality an actual part 
of the Register itself, merely separated off for convenience in 
handling. In this connexion it must be remembered that the 
Register is an independent document, although it happens to 
act as an Index to original papers — it happens very often to 
summarize a letter, but its real object is to record the fact of 
receipt or dispatch ; and it is preserved as a Minute Book of 
the proceedings in that connexion. 

§ 12. The Staffing and Organization of Registry 

We have now given our reasons for believing that in any 
large Office or Department the Establishment of Registry in 
the position of a central authority controlling documentary 
procedure is an essential thing for the future of Archives. 
But we are bound to recognize that its organization on a 
proper basis is not too simple an affair. We may start by 
pointing out that any branch which is independent or virtually 
independent administratively must, as a natural consequence, 
have an independent Registry and Register. This will have, 
incidentally, the effect of putting the Register on the same 
footing as that we have assigned to the Fonds or Archive Group. 1 
Its duties may be divided into two classes, one of routine and 
almost mechanical work which can be done by any reasonably 

See above, Part II, § 6 (p). 

1 88 ARCHIVE MAKING partiv 

intelligent clerk, the other one which demands for its execution 
qualities of high intelligence, responsibility, and experience. 

With regard to the first of these, difficulty in organizing 
is mainly a matter of technique. We have not even added 
much, in the way of Register entries, which is not normally 
done already in the normal office : the trouble lies in fitting 
in the various duties of the indexing and registering staff so 
that they may retain that punctual and routine character which 
the preservation of the Register's position as a contemporary 
record of proceedings (not a posthumous index) necessarily 
demands, without interfering with the transaction of business 
by the Executive side. This, however, should not present 
insuperable difficulties. It is a matter of Office organization, 
of the adjustment of the form of the Register, and of the 
timing of the clerk's duties so that they do not clash with 
each other or those of the Executive. 

Difficulties in connexion with the second class of Registry's 
duties are another matter. There is no doubt that for the 
tasks of entering up certain columns in the Register an official 
is needed equally responsible and equally experienced with 
those engaged on the Executive side. If this is not recognized 
the whole of our scheme for utilizing the Register in connexion 
with the task of preservation and destruction falls to the ground. 
It is necessary to emphasize this because the duties of Registry 
are generally assumed to be merely those of indexing ; and 
indexing is still too often regarded as a mechanical task requiring 
neither training nor intelligence. In point of fact the Register 
as we have sketched it is definitely not an Index, though it is 
capable of being used as one : it is an Archive, a Record of 
the Proceedings of a department of the Office to which it 
belongs, and therein lies its power to act as a substitute for those 
other Office documents which we propose to destroy. 

The officials of the Registry occupy, then, a position 
midway between the Executive and the Archivist : they are 
set up to secure much the same objects as those followed by 
the Archivist but by methods which depend entirely upon the 
point of view and requirements of the Executive ; and they 


must have a considerable portion of the qualities of both, 
with some (in the way of Business Method) of their own. It 
is here that the question which has frequently suggested 
itself during the progress of this work — where is the making 
of Archives, public and private, to stop ? — finds an answer. 
Large businesses and departments will be obliged in the 
future to ask themselves whether it is worth their while, for 
their own purposes, to preserve a collection of their documents. 
If they decide in the affirmative everything, we believe — not 
only the questions of Archive character which we have here 
submitted but those of control of bulk and of choice of material 
and form — every consideration, we believe, will compel them 
to assign a suitable staff to the purposes we have indicated. 
Already Public Departments in this country find it necessary 
to provide for the duties of ' weeding ' official documents ; 
and the distributing and indexing Registry is of course a 
common feature. 1 We have done no more here than to 
combine the two and suggest certain lines along which their 
work should be organized. 

§ 13. Registry and the Archivist 

We have already alluded to the similarity between these 
two, and as their functions must not be confounded we shall 
do well now to emphasize the great difference. The Controller 
of Registry is not an Archivist and is not even tied by the 
Archivist's Rules. Though it is part of his work to preserve 
he is really creating ; while the Archivist preserves only and is 
not in the least concerned with what Archives are made. 
Registry therefore, while it will probably require to draw 
frequently on the advice of its colleagues on the Executive side 
in connexion with its work of ' consideration ' of documents 
for preservation or destruction, will have recourse to the 
Archivist only for advice on technical points of preservation. 
The Archivist, of course, may lighten his future labours by 
persuading Registry to adopt certain systems of numeration 

1 On the subject of Departmental Registries in England see the Royal Commission's 
Second Report^ i, pp. 67 et seq., and ii, pp. 307 et seq. 

i go ARCHIVE MAKING part iv 

and physical arrangement in the documents which will 
presently come to him as Archives ; but this will be the limit 
of his personal concern in them until they are finally handed 
over to his charge. 1 

For convenience we have spoken throughout of the Archi- 
vist and Registry as separate entities ; as of course they are : 
but in the smaller offices it will doubtless happen that they 
are sometimes different manifestations of the same person, who 
combines both offices ; taking over as Archivist the documents 
which as Registry he had previously arranged to preserve. 
If his work is to be done efficiently in both capacities he will 
have to keep his dual personality distinct. 

§ 14. Summary and Conclusion 

We must affirm once more that we have made no attempt 
here to lay down Rules of Archive-making, but merely to 
indicate a profound conviction that certain action must be 
taken along certain lines if Archives of the future are to have 
the characteristic values of those of the past and are to remain 
of a reasonable size. In this connexion also we may repeat 
that much of the effort we have asked for is already being 
expended in many cases by Offices upon their documents, only 
without the method and principle we have here indicated and 
consequently without much result from the Archive point of 
view. It may be necessary, as we have suggested above, to 
draw a line between the Offices whose proceedings are of an 
importance to justify proper Archive-making and those which 
are not, and upon that point we have no suggestions to offer ; 
but if Archives are to be made, or rather (for there can be no 
hypothesis in the matter), in those cases where Archives are 
necessary, we see no alternative to the adoption of the principles 
we have here attempted to outline. 

1 A practical question which has come under observation since this book was written 
concerns the ' requisitioning ' of documents after they have been deposited as Archives by 
the Department in which they originated. This will inevitably occur to a certain, perhaps 
to a considerable, extent. The Archivist should stipulate that if any modification of any 
kind — by addition or deletion of words or pages, or by any alteration in make-up — is 
made to a document under these circumstances he shall be supplied on its return with an 
exact note on the subject, duly dated and authenticated, for incorporation in it. 




In my first edition I found it necessary to give in this place a 
Conspectus of the Divisions of Administrations and Archives, Public 
and Private, in England. At that time I could only refer by 
anticipation to Mr. M. S. Giuseppi's Guide to the . . . Public 
Record Office l in which for the first time the various divisions 
of the Public Records were all set out in their structural order, 
not on the basis of their subject interest. It is, in fact, hardly 
too much to say that in 1922 the idea that Archives were 
accumulations which had grown, not collections which had been 
formed, was an entirely strange one to the majority of students : 
and the conception of all the Groups 2 in the Record Office as 
the reliquiae of living organisms, their parts all closely connected 
and themselves inter-related, was practically unknown. Much 
less was there any general appreciation of the fact that the 
Archives of Central Administration might themselves be 
represented as part only of a single whole which embraced 
those of Local, Ecclesiastical and even Private Institutions. 3 
The suggestion that, taking an even wider view, we might 
regard European Archives as a whole, with our English divisions 
related closely at certain points to those of other Countries, 

1 Two volumes, 1923 and 1924. 

2 There was not at this time any technical word in English expressive of a body of 
Archives resulting from the activities of a single independent Administration. The 
word ' Group ' was first used for that purpose in this work : but has now been adopted 

3 The first attempt at any such treatment of the subject had been made two years 
earlier by Dr. Hubert Hall in his valuable Repertory of British Archives (Royal Historical 
Society : volume I, 1920) : the arrangement of this work, however, is based to a con- 
siderable extent on artificial divisions according to documentary form rather than 
administrative structure. 


would certainly have been regarded generally as fanciful, 
had anyone ventured to make it. 

The development in the scientific study of Archives which 
has taken place since then is illustrated by more than one 
recent publication. Students will probably find it most con- 
venient to study English Archives as a whole in a Report issued 
by the British Records Association. 1 But the same scheme was 
used as the basis for the Royaume Uni section of a Guide Inter- 
national des Archives published earlier 2 by the Institut Inter- 
national de Cooperation Intellectuelle : where it is associated 
with like descriptions of the Archives of Ireland, Wales, the 
Channel Islands and, particularly, Scotland ; and moreover 
may be studied side by side with similar returns from every 
country in Europe. 

With these Reports available it is unnecessary to give here 
more than a summary, sufficient to place the English examples 
cited in the present book. But we must emphasize one matter 
in which England is markedly different from other Countries : 
the Central Archive Authority, with which we shall deal in our first 
division, has no authority over the others : all are practically 
independent. 3 

The Main Divisions, then, of English Archives are six. 

I. Archives resulting from the Administration of Public 
Business at the Centre (which we may describe, for 
brevity, as PUBLIC, CENTRAL) ; 
II. Archives resulting from similar Administration locally 

1 B.R.A., Reports from Committees, Number i : 1935. The Association is issuing 
in the same series a number of more detailed Reports on the classification of various types 
of Archive Group : for instance, that formed by the Parish. 

3 Paris and Rome, 1935. The first tentative draft for this scheme will be found in 
the General Introduction to a series of volumes forming a Guide to Archives . . . relating 
to Surrey, published by the Surrey Record Society (Number XXIII) in 1925. 

3 It is true that higher ecclesiastical authority may exercise some control over the 
way in which Parish Records are kept ; that the Parish Councils Act of 1894 seems to 
contemplate some possible interference in the matter of Civil Records by the County 
Councils ; and that recently (1924) the Master of the Rolls has been given powers in 
relation to Manorial Records in private hands. But these cases are exceptional and the 
measure of control established in each instance a somewhat uncertain matter. 


III. Archives resulting from the activities of Semi-Public 

Institutions (SEMI-PUBLIC) ; and 

IV. Archives resulting from the transaction of private 

business of all kinds (PRIVATE). 
These are all the result of Civil Activities. Entirely separate 
from them are 

V. Archives resulting from the activities of Ecclesiastical 

or Religious Bodies (ECCLESIASTICAL). 
To these must be added the documents which, originally 
preserved in any one of the administrative or business connexions 
mentioned above, have been separated from it and thus lost 
their Archive character and are preserved to us in 


in Libraries, Museums and the like. In an earlier part of this 
book we have discussed the circumstances under which Archives 
which pass out of their original custody may be held to lose or 
retain their status. 

I. Of the above divisions PUBLIC, CENTRAL, has 
supplied by far the larger proportion of our illustrations. 
These Archives include some which for one reason or another 
have never been transferred to the Central Repository (we have 
cited, for instance, the Probate Records x which are preserved 
separately at Somerset House and those of Parliament preserved 
at Westminster) : but the vast proportion have been (or in 
the case of accruing Records, are from time to time) transferred 
to the custody of the Master of the Rolls at the Public Record 
Office in Chancery Lane or at the Provincial Repository (at 
present at Canterbury) which houses most of the documents 
not open to public inspection. 

The Record Office has at present the custody of over seventy 
Archive Groups ; of which one is that of its own Archives and 
two more — the Transcripts from other Archives collected for the 
use of Historians and the Gifts and Deposits 2 — might properly be 
placed under the same heading, though actually they have been 

1 From this point onwards groups or classes of Archives used in illustration in the 
present work are distinguished in this Appendix by being set in italic type. 

2 We have used in illustration here the Chatham, Rodney and Serjeant's Inn MSS. 


formed, rather artificially, into independent Groups. Another 
Group of an Artificial kind is that of Special Collections — we 
have cited the Ancient Correspondence, Ancient Deeds, Loose Seals, 
Court Rolls and Ministers' Accounts. We may further separate off 
certain groups resulting from originally independent administra- 
tions which have for some reason passed to or become merged 
in the Crown, carrying their Archives with them : such are the 
Palatinates — we have used in illustration some of the Archive 
classes of Chester and Lancaster. In this connexion it is to be 
remarked that the Archives of private persons or bodies have 
also passed very frequently to the Crown : those of the African 
Company, for instance, and others which we shall mention under 
IV below, are actually among the Public Records ; where 
they form part of larger Groups. 

The normal Groups, forming the bulk of the Record Office 
deposits, are sometimes divided into ' Courts ' and ' Depart- 
ments ' : a division which corresponds roughly with the two 
volumes of Mr. Giuseppi's Guide and has also some meaning in 
connexion with the slightly different terms in which they are 
placed, by Statute or Order in Council, under the control of 
the Master of the Rolls : but, for our present purpose it may 
be more convenient to say that they fall into three categories. 

(a) There are the Archives of completely defunct Ad- 
ministrations : such are all save one of the quasi-independent 
divisions of the medieval or later Exchequer — the Lord Treasurer's 
Remembrancer' s division, the Exchequer of Receipt, the Exchequer 
of the Jews, the Augmentation Office, the Controller General's Office, 
the Exchequer of Pleas and the First Fruits division ; the Judicial 
Courts of King's Bench and Common Pleas (whose Rolls, Ancient 
Indictments and files of Fines we have cited) ; the Court of 
Requests and the Courts presided over by Justices Itinerant etc. ; 
the State Paper Office which housed all the Archives produced 
by the activities of Secretaries of State before their modern 
differentiation into separate Departments ; and finally, coming 
to very modern times, the Ministry of Munitions. The functions 
of some of these Administrations might be regarded as con- 
tinuing in the hands of later institutions — there is, for instance, 


a King's Bench Division of the High Court and the work of the 
First Fruits Office is directly continued by the Commissioners of 
Queen Anne's Bounty : but in practice Archive accumulation is 
reckoned as beginning afresh with the modern bodies. 

(b) There are the Archives of medieval or other early 
institutions which still exist and deposit fresh accruals from 
time to time : such are the Chancery, some of whose famous 
series of Enrolments still continue though other classes which we 
have cited (such as the ancient Miscellanea and the Proceedings, 
with their related Depositions, Decrees and Orders and so forth) 
represent functions which have ceased. In this category come 
also the King's Remembrancer's Department, last relic of the ancient 
Exchequer, whose Memoranda Roll (a mere shadow, it is true) 
is still compiled though the functions which produced its great 
series of Original and Enrolled Accounts have passed from it ; 
the Exchequer and Audit Department, representing the Audit Office 
started by Henry VI Fs reforms ; the Privy Council ; the 
Treasury, product of changes in financial administration made 
in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries ; and the Admiralty 
and War Office, each representing the union of a number of 
bodies almost equally early with some of later date. 

(c) The last two or three institutions named might almost 
equally have been set here in company with the familiar Public 
Departments of modern government. We have cited in illustra- 
tion Archives of the Colonial Office, Foreign Office, Home Office, 
Queen Anne's Bounty Commissioners and Treasury Solicitor : and 
those of the Supreme Court, a creation of the late nineteenth 
century, the divisions of which now cover practically all the 
judicial activities of Central Authority. 

II. Passing to the Archives of PUBLIC, LOCAL, Adminis- 
tration we find little to say : largely because the chief of them, 
that of the medieval Counties, is not represented by any 
officially surviving body of Records : but the modern County 
Councils, whose muniment rooms contain also the Sessions 
Records, dating in many cases from the seventeenth century 
and covering for a time almost every branch of Local Ad- 
ministration, have provided us with some examples ; as have 


also the independent Boroughs, possessing sometimes Archives 
as .old as any in England. The more modern machinery of 
Local Government, the numerous District and other Councils 
set up by legislation of the late nineteenth century, though 
their Archives often include those of earlier bodies, have not 
been cited. 

III. SEMI-PUBLIC Institutions include all those bodies 
which, existing primarily for private advantage or satisfaction, 
actually discharge more or less Public functions and are 
privileged and controlled accordingly : Commercial Corporations 
like the Bank of England or Lloyds (a constantly increasing 
number), 1 Educational and Charitable Foundations, Pro- 
fessional Bodies like the Inns of Court, and the great City 
Companies, all come within this category. We have instanced 
Archives of Serjeants' Inn, the Grocers' Company and the Stationers' 
Company, and those of at least one famous School. 2 

IV. The category we have labelled PRIVATE includes, 
of course, the Archives of bodies as well as of Individuals. 
We are also to notice that any of the public institutions named 
above, even the Crown or one of its Central Departments, may 
conduct private business (may, for instance, be a land owner 
with exactly the same functions as a private individual) and 
compile, accordingly, Archives of a private character. 

For the medieval period surviving Archives (they have 
survived, in spite of modern depredations, in enormous 
quantities) relate almost entirely to land tenure : we have 
cited Deeds, Court Rolls, Ministers' Accounts and Private Tallies : 
with the sixteenth century, when writing begins to become 
common property, begin the ever-increasing accumulations of 
Family Papers in the modern sense : we have cited some of the 
earliest known (the Cely and Stonor Collections, dating actually 
from the previous century) and a number of well-known ones 
of later date — the Hatfield and Chatham MSS. for instance, and 
the Collections of the Duke of Leeds and the Earl of Crawford. 

1 Modern legislation is tending more and more to give public functions to Banks, 
Insurance Companies and the like, with a marked effect on their Archives. 

2 Winchester College. 


From the post-Reformation period date also surviving business 
Collections : we have instanced the Archives of the Hudson's 
Bay Company and the African Company, and the Watt Papers 
at Birmingham. 

V. In dealing with the ECCLESIASTICAL Division we 
have first to bear in mind the fact that before the Reformation 
'Ecclesia Anglicana' had two series of functions : it administered 
vast properties as well as exercising spiritual authority. The 
Archives of the first of these have to a very large extent passed to 
other hands and moreover belong, in a sense, as much to our 
previous division as to this. They cannot, however, be left 
out of consideration here : if only because the line between 
spiritual and temporal was not always very carefully drawn 
by contemporaries ; a piece of administrative machinery, and 
a single series of Archives, frequently dealing with both 

Taking, then, the spiritual side first we must merely note 
that its divisions, and those of its Archives, will follow the 
hierarchy of the Church ; giving us possible accumulations 
of Provincial, Diocesan, Archidiaconal, Ruri-decanal and 
Parochial Archives (we have used in illustration Diocesan and 
Parish Registers) : but to these must be added the Chapter 
Archives (we mentioned those of Westminster Abbey) which still 
retain in many cases the Records of administration of property ; 
and, for completeness, the Archives of Religious Bodies now 
defunct, the Cartularies and other records of Monasteries which 
may still be found in public or private custody. 1 

We have not used in illustration the Archives of Religious 
Bodies outside 'Ecclesia Anglicana' : but they are numerous 
and in some cases of considerable importance. 2 

1 We mentioned those of Chertsey, Pershore and Ramsey. 

2 They form the subject of one of the more detailed Reports (No. 3) of the British 
Records Association, mentioned above. 





A complete Bibliography of Archive Science is much to be 
desired. Such a Bibliography would be in effect a Catalogue 
of the Ideal Library for an Archivist. But even excluding the 
special subjects, and dealing only with works having a direct 
bearing upon Archive problems, it would be too large a task 
to be attempted here. 1 

At the same time every Archivist needs a Reference Library, 
large or small according to the size of his collection, but con- 
structed, mutatis mutandis, on the same principle as all other 
Archive Libraries. It seems, therefore, desirable to lay down 
certain conditions essential for such a Library. 

In particular this is important — that an Archivist's Library 
(or Bibliography) should be arranged strictly according to the 
Archive needs it is desired to serve. This arrangement will for 
the most part differ completely from that which any General 
Librarian would affect : for example, any given series of 
publications — say the Public Record Office Series of Lists and 
Indexes — would be classed together in a General Library ; but 

1 It may be convenient, however, to name together here a few books (most of them 
already mentioned in our text) the bibliographies or footnotes in which will serve to 
start an aspiring Archivist-Bibliographer on his or her way. 

Excluding the general subject of History (the English Student might well have 
recourse here to the bibliographies in the great ' Cambridge ' series) I suggest as a first 
list the following. 

Brown, J. D. Manual of Library Economy. (New edition, ed. W. C. B. Sayers : 1937.) 

Casanova, E. U Archivistica. (Siena : 1928.) 

Giry, A. Manuel de Diplomatique. (Paris: 1894.) 

Haselden, R. B. Scientific Aids for the Study of Manuscripts. (Bibliographical 

Society : 1935.) 
Institut International de Cooperation Intellectuelle. Guide International des Archives. 
(Paris and Rome : 1935.) 

Note. — Further volume or volumes dealing with American and Colonial Archives 
in preparation. 
Jenkinson, H. The later Court Hands in England. (Cambridge : 1927.) 
Prou, M. Manuel de Paleographie Latine et Francaise. (3rd edition : Paris : 1910-) 
Royal Commission on Public Records (19 10). First, Second and Third Reports : 
especially Bibliography in First Report. (London : 191 2, 19 14, 191 9.) 


the Archivist in constructing either his paper Bibliography or 
his actual Library would split up such a series according to 
the Administrative Groups — i. e. Archive Groups — to which the 
volumes in it supply a key ; interspersing them, if he had a 
large collection, among other books. 

The following general scheme, therefore, is suggested for an 
Archivist's Library of Reference, or Bibliography of Archive 

§ 1. Archive Theory. (Custody, Care, Arrangement and 

§ 2. Archive Sources. (Printed Guides to Existing 

§ 3. Archive Making. (Administration, Public and 

Private, Past and Present.) 
§ 4. Archives Printed. 

§ 5. Archives in Use. (Elucidation and Interpretation.) 
Taking these in a little more detail. 
§ 1. Archive Theory may be classified as follows. 

(a) General Works. These, though their main conclu- 
sions are the same, vary in different countries according to the 
National Character of the Archives on whose particular needs 
and peculiarities they are based. They should therefore be 
arranged under Countries. This class will include the Rules 
and Regulations published periodically by Archive Authorities ; 
except special ones which come under (b) below. 

(b) Works on Special Subjects, (i) Buildings and Fittings. 
The Archivist's interest in such books is governed by the nature 
of the Repository he himself requires, and they should therefore 
be classified again under the Headings General and Special, the 
latter including works on the particular needs of Provincial or 
other small Archive Repositories. 

(ii) Materials of Archives. Works consist mainly 
of scientific investigation into the chemical qualities of Ink, 
Leather, Sec, and should be classified under these heads. A 
further division may be made between investigations into 
Modern and into Ancient materials. The number of the latter 


will, it may be hoped, be increased in the future : works on 
Modern Materials will include books on Office Routine which 
deal with the forms of Registers, Indexing Systems, and so forth. 

(iii) Custody, Arrangement and Classification. This 
is mostly a matter of cross reference to the General Books in 
(a) above. Modern Works on Library Classification have little 
to do with the Archivist, because he is governed by the special 
considerations due to Archive character, not by subject 
interests. But works on Indexing, Cataloguing and Editing 
must be included. 

(iv) Publication and Printing. It may be desirable 
again, for comparative purposes, to classify under countries : 
and possibly within these the peculiar needs of divers publishing 
Bodies or Societies * might supply subdivisions. 

§ 2. Archive Sources. (Printed Guides.) 

(a) Summary Guides. These are few ; and written 
generally in the interests of the History of a Particular Country ; 
by which they may be classified. They are sometimes useful 
as giving an apercu of widely different classes and Depots of 

(b) Detailed Guides. These naturally fall into a classi- 
fication by Archive Repositories. They may therefore be 
divided first into 

(i) General, which will be classified again by 

countries, and within that classification by Depots 2 of Archives: 

(ii) Particular, i. e. applying to that Country, and 

those classes of Archives in it, in which the Archivist concerned 

is most interested. 

This division is most important ; because in the case of any 
but the most modern Archives it may safely be laid down that 
the Archivist will not be able to dispense with any book in 

1 The distinction, for example, between the needs of the Selden Society (Legal 
Interest) and a County Society in England publishing in the interests of Local 

2 Such as the Departmental, National and other Archives in France with their 
appropriate Inventaires sommaires. It will be noticed that the General class includes 
Foreign Archives and any home ones which do not closely interest the Archivist 


which the condition and location of his Archives at any time are 
established by a contemporary statement. Thus in App. V (i) 
of the present work Inventories and Guides l dating from 1323 
practically to the present day are used to settle Archive questions 
in connexion with the English Records of the Exchequer of 

In making a Bibliography the Archivist must distinguish 
carefully between 

[1] Guides, &c, compiled by those who stood in the 
relation of Archivist to the documents in question — 
we may call this the Official class ; and 
[2] those compiled for some other reason, generally 
Historical — the Private or tin-Official class. 

§ 3. Archive Making. (Administrative History.) 

(a) In the Past. The Archivist's object being to collect 
together works showing the Administrative Machinery behind 
his Archives, an understanding of which is the key to their 
comprehension, the General Section may be quickly dismissed. 
(i) General : including summary works only, 
arranged under Countries. 

(ii) Particular : in the same meaning as in § 2. 
This may be studied in detail along two lines : 

[1] Administrative Histories. Even in the case 
of the more important public or semi-public Administrations in 
England there is practically no summary work, 2 and detailed 
ones, mostly in the form of Articles, are scattered over Reviews, 
Transactions of Societies, and Introductions to Texts. However, 

1 It may be convenient to summarize such Authorities here : they are — 

Official. Inventories of all periods (published in Palgrave's Antient Inven- 
tories) ; Reports from Lords Committees (18th Cent.), Select Committees 
of the House of Commons (19th Cent.), Record Commission (1800-37), 
Public Record Office (from 1840), Commission on Public Records (19 10) ; 
Thomas's and Bird's Official Guides ; Journals of both Houses of Parliament ; 
Sessional Papers of the same ; and Statutes. Other Committees' and 
Commissions' Reports might be quoted in connexion with other Archives 
in England such as the 1902 Committee on Local Records. 

Private. Works such as Sir T. Fanshawe's Practice of the Exchequer Court (1658) 
from the seventeenth century onwards. 

2 See however Part I, § 1, of this work. 


whatever the available quantity may be for any given 
class of Archives, their classification must once again be strictly 
according to the Divisions of the Administrations (and Archives) 
concerned and the internal arrangement of these. 1 

[2] Lists of Administrators. These are most 
important for the Archivist's work in dating, identifying and 
interpreting. They may be divided into first a General and 
then a Detailed Class : the latter being classified in the same 
way as the Histories in [1] above. 

(b) Archive-making in the Future. This takes us on to 
the purely Modern Administration, which must not be omitted ; 
because the practical Archivist will need to know something of 
the character of the Archives he is likely to receive as well as of 
those he possesses. We may omit, however, the General Division 
here. Touching the Particular one it is to be noted that Archive- 
making is becoming, in all countries, increasingly a matter of 
legal obligation. On the other hand, the use of Administrative 
History as a key to the understanding of Archives still persists. 
Classification therefore may here be under 

(i) Current Legislation affecting the keeping (or 
the discarding 2 ) of Archives, Public, Local or Private ; 

(ii) any works of reference descriptive of the 
scope of Administration by Public or semi-Public Departments, 
Institutions, Companies and so forth ; and 

(iii) Year-books and the like relating to the 
personnel of such bodies. 

The question of the Materials of Modern Archives has 
already been dealt with in § 1 (b) (ii) above. 

§ 4. Archives Printed. 

It should be one of the first cares of the Archivist to 

1 Thus Administrations in England would be divided up as is done in Appendix I 
above into Public (represented largely, qua Archives, by the Record Office), Local, 
Ecclesiastical, Private and so forth : each of these may be divided again into Archive 
Groups (the Public, for example, into Chancery, Exchequer, Admiralty, Home Office 
and so forth), and these again, if necessary, into their component classes. 

2 Cp. the Act which abolished the necessity for long title in England and so threw 
on the world large masses of private deeds relating to land tenure which have no longer 
any practical value. 


find out which of his own Archives have been printed, to keep 
a complete list of such Archives and Publications, and to obtain 
copies of as many as possible. 1 But all Archives printed have 
a certain interest. 

(i) General. 2, As a rule it will not be necessary to 
do more than exemplify or summarize the types of work 
published : the arrangement will naturally be under Countries 
and within that under Archive Depots, and, if necessary, Groups. 
(ii) Particular. 2 The question of the arrangement 
of these is very important. Three points have to be carefully 
remembered in addition to the usual bibliographical rules : 

[1] the distinction between the Full Tran- 
script ; the Full Translation ; the lengthy Abstract (generally called 
a Calendar in England) ; Extracts ; the Descriptive List ; the 
List ; the Index (of persons, places or subjects) ; and the 
Inventory or Summary Description : 

[2] the distinction between the different 
Persons or Bodies responsible for the books and in particular 
their Private or Official character 3 : and 

[3] the fact that the arrangement of the 
books must follow that of the Administrative (and Archive) 
Divisions ; as in §§ 2 (b) and 3 (a) above. 

[3] must govern the main arrangement of the Bibliography 4 
because the Books are required primarily as Reference Works 
in connexion with the Archives. [1] and [2] will supply, as it 
were, extra columns of information in the Bibliography or 

1 Cp. Part II, § 9, of this work. 

2 The words are used in the same senses as in § 2 above. 

3 Cp. above § 2 (b). The Public Records quoted in this work have been dealt 
with for the purposes of Publication by the Record Commission (1800-37) ; by 
the Record Office in Appendices to Deputy Keepers' Reports, in Calendars (including 
Transcripts and Abstracts), in Lists and Indexes and in the Chronicles Series ; by 
various Public Committees and Commissions ; by Public Departments ; by Private 
enterprise printing in a general historical interest ; and by private persons and Societies 
in various special interests. 

4 Publishers' Series, for example, and Authors' or Editors' names, are purely secondary 


§ 5. Archives in Use. (Elucidation and Interpretation.) 

(a) General Works of Reference. We have already ex- 
cluded special subjects — the Bibliography might otherwise take 
all knowledge for its province : but a certain number of works 
will be needed in the nature of Encyclopaedias ; Historical 
Bibliographies ; General Indexes to Historical Periodicals and 
the Publications of Learned Societies ; and Subject Catalogues 
of large Library Collections ; all being chosen in direct 
connexion with the interests of the Archivist concerned. 

(b) Works directly elucidatory of Archives. These fall 
conveniently into the following classification : 

(i) Biography and Personal History. This is little 
more than an extension, in directions governed by the special 
needs of the Archivist, of the Lists of Persons connected with 
Administration mentioned under § 3 (a) (ii) above. 

(ii) Chronology. This includes : 

[1] Chronology proper. (Perpetual Calendars, 

Lists of Saints' Days, Regnal Years, Law Terms, and so forth.) 

[2] Works giving outlines of History and Dates. 

(iii) Diplomatic. Though this science is of de- 
creasing importance in later periods owing to decrease in the 
importance of Form in Archives, no contemporary Formula 
or Precedent Books of any date can be neglected. 

(iv) Languages. These again are governed by the 
special needs of the Archivist. The important thing is that he 
should provide himself with 

[1] the best possible Modern (in the case of 
Latin, Classical) Dictionaries ; and 

[2] Dictionaries of obsolete words, and par- 
ticularly, if possible, Dictionaries published at about the date 
at which his Archives were written. 

(v) Palaeography. The remarks made with regard 
to Diplomatic above apply here, but not to the same extent : in 
England, at any rate, medieval or early post-medieval forms 
continued till a very late date. Contemporary Writing-Masters' 
Books are important and modern facsimiles should not be 


(vi) Sigillography and Kindred Studies. This is again 
of comparatively limited interest. The class includes works on 
Heraldry and on Arms borne by Families ; and Seal Catalogues. 

(vii) Topography. Here again emphasis should be 
laid on the importance of Maps and Topographical Works of the 
same period as the Archives. In the case of collections con- 
taining early documents, where spelling is unusual, parallel 
volumes published from other Archives, containing identifica- 

Uprights ior me racking ait bl^^i om^o v* ^ ~ ^ _ 

and of T, L and plain section ; their width 2 inches or in the 
case of the central ones 3 inches. The plain strips are used for 
the front of the press, the T and L for backs, centres and ends. 


§ 5. Archives in Use. (Elucidation and Interpretation.) 
(a) General Works of Reference. We have already ex- 
cluded special subjects — the Bibliography might otherwise take 
all knowledge for its province : but a certain number of works 
will be needed in the nature of Encyclopaedias ; Historical 
Bibliographies ; General Indexes to Historical Periodicals and 
the Publications of Learned Societies ; and Subject Catalogues 
of large Library Collections ; all being chosen in direct 
connexion with the interests of the Arrhivist mnrprnpH 


page 205 


I regret that during revision of this part of the subject, I have 
accidently omitted here a preliminary passage on 

Possible Materials for Shelving. 
It was to the effect that the ideal shelf would be (i) light; but 
(ii) not liable to fracture; and (iii) capable of supporting a 
range of imperial folios over a span of three feet: (iv) smooth, 
so as to reduce friction: (v) not favourable to dirt or insect 
life ; (vi) nor to condensation ; (vii) nor liable to rust : and 
(viii) of a form permitting the vertical passage of air. All 
this at a reasonable price. 

Unfortunately, all the usual materials— slate, painted iron 
or steel, plate glass, ordinary wood— fail over one or more of 
these tests. I have therefore adopted here, provisionally, the 
form which provides for what seems to me at present the most 
important qualification (No. viii) and is open to least objection 
on other grounds— a 'duck-board 5 pattern in teak. 

uiitnniui c*«- uiiv xt*i.^, inv-ui^vtti ui \^a.x±y j^v^ou-iliCU.1^ Veil JLUI llld 

continued till a very late date. Contemporary Writing-Masters' 
Books are important and modern facsimiles should not be 


(vi) Sigillography and Kindred Studies. This is again 
of comparatively limited interest. The class includes works on 
Heraldry and on Arms borne by Families ; and Seal Catalogues. 

(vii) Topography. Here again emphasis should be 
laid on the importance of Maps and Topographical Works of the 
same period as the Archives. In the case of collections con- 
taining early documents, where spelling is unusual, parallel 
volumes published from other Archives, containing identifica- 
tions of place-names, are valuable. 

None of these classes require special treatment in the matter 
of bibliographical arrangement. This is, in fact, by its nature 
the one division of the Bibliography susceptible of an ordinary 
classification by subjects. 



NO TE. There is no suggestion that this Appendix is exhaustive. 
It merely supplies examples of specifications which have proved 

(i) Ordinary Racking 

The following has the advantage that it is made from irons 
of standard gauge and moulding, and is very simple in plan 
and erection. It need not be fixed to floor or ceiling and is 
suitable for an 8-ft. room or a 1 6-ft. room with mezzanine floor. 
The material for this (grating), and the dimensions for a stair- 
case, have been already described ; as has also the general 
lay-out of the room. 

Uprights for the racking are steel strips of half-inch gauge 
and of T, L and plain section ; their width 2 inches or in the 
case of the central ones 3 inches. The plain strips are used for 
the front of the press, the T and L for backs, centres and ends. 



App. Ill 

Figures i and 2 shew distribution of these in either single or 
double presses : the dotted lines indicating the position of the 
shelves. As mentioned above they may be placed to make 
* divisions ' taking 3-ft. shelves : the number of divisions 


Figure i 


Figure 2. 

in a press being governed by the dimensions of the room. The 
mezzanine floor (if any) is carried on light irons bolted to the 
uprights and other cross pieces connecting the uprights are of 
the simplest description and are placed at the floor and ceiling 
levels ; occasional diagonal braces at the back of the presses 
may also be necessary. A flanged ' lid ' of sheet steel is bolted 
over the top of each press. 

The uprights are pierced at one-inch intervals with holes 
to take the mushroom-headed Pins shewn in Figure 3 : these 
are f inch in diameter, have their shafts grooved 
~^~Ty to a depth of ^ inch to take shelf-bearers, and 
are made in two lengths to go through either an 
Figure 3. upright and one bearer or an upright and two 

bearers (supporting two shelves at the same level in neigh- 
bouring divisions). 1 

The Bearers are light L irons, 1 inch wide, holed in two 

1 The pins being merely thrust through the holes in the uprights, height of shelves 
can be changed rapidly with no other tool than a hammer. 


places so as to slip over the pin shaft and drop into the groove. 
The upper arm of the L (that carrying the shelf) is slightly 
longer than the lower at one end, and is turned up to prevent the 
shelf slipping forward. 

Ends and (for double presses) Backs are of panels of sheet 
metal pierced with large holes so as to give almost the effect 
of wire netting, as already described, and stiffened by means of 
rolled edges : the ends may be held in position by a few light 
flats slotted to fix, outside the Press, over bearing pins : back 
Panels are kept in position by the shelves. 

Shelves are of ' duck-board ' pattern made of teak battens, 
4 inches in width and 3 feet in length ( 1 \ inches out of 1 J-inch 
timber), on thinner cross pieces fastened with brass screws : 
three battens to a 14-inch shelf, giving 1 inch air-space between 
battens. The upper side of the battens is rounded to diminish 

(ii) Press for Large Flat Documents 

An upright cabinet x made of ordinary sheet steel as used 
for large filing cabinets and consisting of base on 4-inch plinth, 
two sides, back and top. Front open. To be fitted with 
shelves 2 of same material at 2-inch intervals : shelves to have 
a f -inch roll on front edge ; and each to be carried on three 
transverse rods secured to sides of cabinet by screw nuts ; 
front rod within roll on edge of shelf. Each shelf may be 
further aired if desired by holes pierced in walls of cabinet. 
If it is desired to lock, a vertical bar may be hinged to front 
centre of base and fasten with padlock to a staple on top : or 
two such bars may run from base to centre shelf and from 
centre shelf to top. 

With this cabinet may be used the portfolio specified at (d) (ii) 
below in this Appendix. 

(iii) Rack to carry long rolled documents 

Materials. Cantilever brackets 3 feet 4J inches long made 

1 A maximum height is 6 feet, giving 34 shelves. 

2 Portfolios measuring (e. g.) 40 inches x 30 inches, which is about maximum size, will 
require a shelf 42 inches wide by 3 1 inches deep. 



App. Ill 

of T irons i\ X i^ X \ inches : one end fish-tailed for 
building-in to wall, the other benched at 60 ° : the cross of 
T drilled at 7^-inch intervals to take J-inch screws ; the first 
hole being f inch from benched end. 

Five lengths of teak 1 x 3 inches (upper side rounded) and 
two fillets of the same f x i\ X 36 inches. 

The cantilevers are built into the wall to a depth of 
4I inches (or 6 inches if the brickwork is soft) x at intervals of 
2 feet 6 inches. The teak battens are then laid across them at 
intervals of 4! inches, the front batten projecting f inch beyond 
cantilevers ; and fastened by screws through cantilevers from 
underneath. The two small fillets are fixed across the top of 
the battens at \ inch distance from each end. 

These racks may be placed close together, one above 
another : each taking one layer of rolled Maps, etc., of any 
length up to 5 feet, laid at right angles to the battens. 

(b) BOXES 

Figures 4 and 5 shew the cuts and (by dotted lines) the 
scored lines for bending to make the joints at the base and ends 
of the walls in the convenient form of box mentioned above 
















Figure 4. 

Figure 5. 

(Part II §5(/)). In each case, lid and box are of identical pattern 
except that the lid is, of course, slightly larger, and that in 
the box the two semi-circular thumb holes are omitted. 

In the first pattern the lugs (the square portions at each 

The length of the irons in this case will be increased to 3 feet 6 inches. 

App. Ill 



corner) are to be fastened on the outside of the wall AA in the 
case of the lid, inside for the box ; to make opening smoother. 

In the second pattern (used only where extra strength is 
required) there are two triangular lugs at each corner and 
these will have to be fastened one outside the wall BB and one 
inside the wall C in each case. 

Material suggested — best glazed leather-board : stapling 
of lugs to sides to be done with pure brass wire only. 


Trays may be made of any size from 10 X 14 inches, or 
smaller, up to about 13 x 18 inches, with depth from 1 inch 

to 2 1 or 3 inches. 

Figure 6. 

Figure 7. 

A straw-board base is glued and tacked (pure brass tacks) 
to walls of f -inch wood ; which are then covered with good 
quality black holland glued on and overlapping base both 
inside and outside. Base covered with tinted paper outside, 
lined good quality white inside. Two fillets of white wood 
(■§■ inch planed) § inch in width and in length a fraction less 
than interior width of tray are glued and tacked (brass tacks, 
clinched on inside of tray) to underside of base at distance a 
fraction more than f inch from each end on shorter side. 

The sketches shew one corner of a tray : Figure 6, as seen 
from above ; Figure 7 on under side, shewing turn-over of 
cloth and (F) part of one fillet, in position. 



App. Ill 

A stout straw-board, covered and lined with paper as tray, 
with two fillets similarly placed on inner (white) side, serves 
as lid to top tray of a series. Lowest tray need not have fillets. 

From three to eight trays, according to depth and size, 
form when superimposed a convenient unit. The fillets on 
each, fitting inside the tray below, prevent any accident if the 
pile of trays is tilted. 


(i) Simple Folder : used to enclose loose flat documents of any size 
when it is intended to place a number of folders in a larger container. 

Figure 8 shews scoring lines for a simple two-flap folder to 
enclose loose papers : the second pattern (double scoring) is 
for use where many documents are to be enclosed. Note size 
of flaps : larger one (practically same width as body) to be 
folded outside in use. 

Figure 8. 

Material : best quality manilla, medium to heavy weight 
according to size of folder. Scoring may be done in the 
repository by folding and boning down. 

If it is necessary to use more than one sheet for a very large 
folder body may consist of two layers pasted together and 
projecting one on each side to form flaps : or flaps may be 
separate pieces overlapped two inches under body and pasted. 

N.B. If pasting or gluing is necessary manilla should be 
roughed where adhesion is to take place, especially 
at edges. 

App. Ill 



(ii) Heavy Folder or Portfolio 1 : for use with press for large flat 

documents described under (a) (ii) above. 

Documents within this may be placed in a number of the 

1 Simple ' folders already described. 
Materials: Two boards of 3 lb., 40 x 30 inch, straw-board : 
to be connected on long side by joint or hinge i\ inches wide, 
made of a 7-inch strip of best quality unbleached calico or 
linen pasted outside boards and turned over at head and tail : 
another like strip to be pasted down over this inside with a liner 
of thin paper between. Upper board to be covered with 
tinted cover paper turned over edges ; and lined with good 
quality white paper : lower board to be lined with white paper, 
turned over edges, and covered with stout manilla which will 
be prolonged beyond board to form two 8-inch flaps to the 
shorter sides of the portfolio : joints of these flaps reinforced by 
a strip of the calico, extending under the board (between 
board and manilla). 




Figure 9. 

Two pieces of i-inch unbleached webbing, each 20 inches 
long : ends of these to be led through two slits about 4 inches 
apart and 3 inches from front edge of each board, in centre : 
ends then to be brought back and sewn to bight of webbing, 
forming handle. 

Figure 9 shews outer edge of lower board ; with (F) flaps, 
(G) guards of calico, and handle. 

Note. If more than one sheet of paper or manilla has to be 
used for the cover of these large portfolios the edges 

1 Designed to combine the least possible weight with the necessary modicum of rigidity. 



App. hi 

should be butted up against each other where they 
join — not overlapped. 

(iii) Simple Portfolio to contain quantity of very large flat documents. 1 
(' Simple ' Folders as described above may be used within this.) 
Figure 10 shews large board of ' eight-penny XX ' mill- 
board, 22 X 30 inches (note blunted corners) ; and below 
this a piece of best quality unbleached calico 54 x about 60 
inches : note proportion of size of calico to that of board. 
Board is pasted before being laid on calico : then it is turned 
over and split rivets of solid copper hammered through, two 
at each corner : 2 it is then turned over again and rivets 
clinched on inside, as shewn. 

Documents are placed in 
this and calico flaps turned 
over as in action of doing up 
a paper parcel. A second 
board (' ten-penny XX ') is 
then placed on top and the 
whole tied with Italian cord 
with slip-knot and final 
single bow. Four small 
pieces of cloth should be 
pasted over the edges of the 
second board to strengthen 
them against the cord. 

(iv) Portfolio to contain single flat document with pendent seal. 

Materials : two i|-lb., 25 X 30 inch, straw-boards (or like 
weight in larger or smaller size). Four pieces of best linen 
buckram (white) 30 X 27 inches, 30 X 8 inches and (2) 
25 X 8 inches (or corresponding sizes for smaller or larger 
boards) . 

One board to be covered with tinted cover-paper turned 
over edges. Two half-inch tapes, one about 42 inches and one 
10 inches long, to be led through slits at right angles to long side 

1 This portfolio is of easy construction and can be made in the repository. 

2 Or one may be put at each corner and two more along each of the longer sides. 

nr 5~\ 


£2. Lf 

Figure 10. 

App. Ill 



of this board at about 4 inches distance from this side and 
2 inches from ends, one inch of tape being left on inside of 
board. Second board to be covered with good quality white 
paper turned over edges. Boards to be glued together back to 
back, about 2 inches of each buckram flap being first roughed 
and inserted between them. 

If there is a seal a length of i^-inch webbing is inserted 
between boards (under the buckram flap) so as to project at 
point where seal occurs : free end of this fastened to base of 
cardboard box in which seal will lie : length of webbing 
between box and board to be slightly less than that of tag or 
laces between seal and document. Buckram flap on this side 
to be slit through from edge to board opposite seal. 

N.B. Glue only to be used as adhesive, to avoid warping. 

Figure n. 

Figure 1 1 shows lower edge of board with three narrower 
flaps (F:F-F:F) ; the lower and right-hand flaps are folded over 
board to shew webbing for seal-box (W) and shorter tape. 
The largest flap (not shewn here) is turned over outside the 
others and the tapes tied over this in a single bow on edge of board. 


Figures 1 2 and 1 3 shew a press for use in the s filing ' process 
described elsewhere. A heavy wooden board, about 24 x 18 
inches, has fixed to one side an upright backing (B) and at a 
distance of 1 \ inches from this is pierced by a |-inch slit running 
practically all its length. Opposite the ends of this slit two 



App. Ill 

screw bolts with butterfly nuts are hinged so that they can be 
brought into a vertical position and engage in the jaws formed 
at the ends of the pressing iron (Figure 13) : which is made of 
two iron flats joined together by two cross pieces but having 
a slit left between them to correspond with the slit in the board. 
In use, a pile of guarded papers, within material for a limp 
cover (if that is desired) or file boards (as described below), is 
placed on the board with the slit below the middle of the 

Figure 12. 

Figure 13. 

guards. The iron is placed on the top and screwed up ; and both 

drilling of holes and subsequent lacing are thus accomplished 

with the papers under close compression. 

Figure 14 shews four pieces of thin mill-board or straw- 
board in position on 
cover x of binders' cloth. 
Distance between A 
and B, C and D, about 
J inch : distance be- 
tween B and C accord- 
ing to thickness of pile of 
guarded papers which 
is to be filed. Cover is 
to be pasted on to 
boards and turned over 
edges. Strip of cloth 

wide enough to project 1 inch on to boards A and D to be 

1 Alternatively cover may be of half cloth and paper. 





Figure 14. 


pasted and well boned down over central space (B — C) . Flaps 
of cover cloth added if desired to sides of D. A and D then 
lined with good quality white paper. 

The holes for filing x are drilled through B and C ; the 
spaces A — B and C — D forming the joints of the cover. If 
desired a pair of boards AB and CD may be made separately 
with no back. 

Note. — This Appendix makes no attempt to deal with 
Repair-Binding in general : still less does it cover the repair 
of bindings of any considerable age or importance ; which 
should always be treated as individual problems. But the 
Archivist may sometimes be faced with large quantities of 
comparatively modern bindings at the stage where backs, 
and possibly corners, have gone but sewing is still good. Here 
both economy and Archive propriety 2 will point to his 
doing the smallest amount which will ensure that deteriora- 
tion does not go further and endanger the interior of the 
volume. The following four specifications may be useful 
as indicating the lines along which such problems may be 
solved. It will be observed that no new lettering is done, 
the Archivist relying on his reference labels : but all old 
lettering pieces, stamps, etc., should be saved and pasted 
inside front board or on end sheet. 

By way of contrast we give (Number v) some examples 
(being descriptions of four pieces of work actually carried 
out recently) of the kind of repair which may be necessary 
upon a volume of importance, and of the note which the 
Archivist should insert to shew what he has done. 

(i) Volumes (foolscap size), whole-bound in leather with hollow 
back which has come off : condition otherwise fair. 
Leather on both sides to be stripped to a straight cut about 

1 Note that before filing some extra guards should be added at back to counterbalance 
the extra thickness caused by overlap of guard and document. If documents to be filed 
are of different sizes they should be mounted on large guards and knocked up to fore- 
edge before drilling : surplus guard paper can then be cut off square at the back. 

2 Even the most commonplace of bindings, though it has no intrinsic interest, has 
potentially some value as evidence of the history of the Archive. 


two inches from back : back to be cleaned and re-lined if 

New paper hollow to be formed and over this book to be re- 
backed with linen buckram coming flush up to cuts on sides : 
head- and tail-bands to be blocked : end sheets to be cut and 
lifted to take turn-in of new buckram. 

(ii) Volumes {foolscap size or larger), half -bound in calf and paper : 
backs broken off at joints : condition otherwise fair. 

Old calf to be stripped from back and sides, but not from 
corners : where clothings are not adhering properly they are 
to be raised with folding-stick and glued down : where sewing 
is weak and clothings have perished back to be cleaned and a 
piece of stout calico to be pasted right along it. 

New spring back to be made, of best mill wrapping-paper 
and mill-board, and drawn on with new linen buckram back : 
head and tail to be set in usual stationery style : end sheets 
to be cut and lifted for turn-in of new buckram. 

(iii) Volumes (large folio), half-bound in calf and paper or whole 
bound in calf : some over-cast sections : 1 backs off and corners 

Back to be cleaned off and re-lined : new rolled hollow 
[not spring) of paper strengthened with thin mill-board to be 
formed : head and tail to be reinforced by strip of linen 
extending over back and on to boards : corners to be hardened 
by gluing and hammering down. 

Volume to be half-bound in linen buckram and best quality 
smooth brown paper : new half end-sheets, with hinge, of heavy 
quality white paper. 

(iv) Volumes (large folio) ; flexibly sewn, two or three on : bands 
broken at joints and boards detached : sewing good. 

Old binding to be removed down to the sewing and new end 
papers pasted on : back to be cleaned off with paste and when 
it is dry piece of stout calico or linen to be pasted over it, over- 
lapping on to end papers. 

1 This precludes use of a spring back. 


Volume is then preserved in leather-board box : without 
boards, but with specimen of leather inserted, or with one of the 
old boards enclosed in a separate folder. 

(v) Examples of actual Re-Bindings 
[1] Duchy of Lancaster : Great Cowcher. 

This volume was originally sewn on seven double bands : 
and the prominence of the kettle-stitch hole suggests that the 
head- and tail-bands were worked on as part of the sewing. 
At a later date it was re-sewn flexibly on five cords and whole- 
bound in tooled calf with silver clasps, at which time presum- 
ably the old boards disappeared : the silver mark suggests that 
this was done about 1721. At a yet later date the volume was 
re-backed, with an added hollow having six dummy bands on it. 

It has now been re-sewn in the first form (seven bands), 
laced on to boards of old oak, half-bound in vegetable-tanned 
calf, and enclosed in a box. The eighteenth-century cover, 
lettering pieces, and clasps, and the nineteenth-century back, 
are in a case in the same box. New parchment end-sheets. 

[2] Register of the Bishop of Chichester (16th century). 

The original sewing of this volume has been strengthened 
by tapes sewn over the original double bands, which had 
broken at the joints. These tapes have been laced into oak 
boards : the front board is new but the back one incorporates 
portions of both the original boards. 

The cover is of vegetable-tanned calf with portions of the 
two original sides incorporated. The parchment end-sheets 
are new. 

[3] State Papers, 105/342. 

The original binding of this volume was apparently oriental : 
see the paper, in envelope annexed, from which the boards 
were made. 

In the re-binding the original style has been reconstituted 
as nearly as possible, the sewing being, as before, on only three 
bands : the old leather of the sides has been inlaid in the 
new, which is native-tanned African goat, stained to darken. 


[4] Grocers' Company : Wardens' Accounts (1671 — 168 1). 

In this interesting example ten of the original yearly volumes, 
each consisting of about thirty paper sheets sewn in a single 
gathering into a limp vellum cover, instead of being bound 
into a single volume were fastened as they stood by means of 
twisted parchment or vellum tackets to a vellum case consisting 
of back and two sides j 1 of which the second is prolonged into a 
flap which extends over the fore-edge and on to the front side, 
where it is fastened with a brass clip. 

The case has now been repaired and the tackets, together 
with the strengthening bands of fourfold parchment, renewed. 



Singe this book was first written it has fallen to me to have 
through my hands a great many thousands of documents, not 
only Public Records but manuscripts from local or private 
sources, whose physical state was not what it ought to be ; 
ranging from the ' unsatisfactory ' to the ' almost ' or (in rare 
cases — it does not often happen) ' quite beyond repair.' And 
as the causes which have led to this state are, in my view, 
essentially simple it seems worth while to summarize them 
here. I am not dealing now with cases where the use of 
unsuitable materials results in deterioration from the mere 
passing of time : this happens only (at any rate in the climatic 
conditions prevailing in England) to documents of very recent 
date ; and we have already glanced at the special problems 
arising in connexion with these. My present point is this. 
Enough documents of every kind survive from every date 
between 1200 and (say) 1870 2 to prove that, given proper 

1 In another example in the same series the yearly volumes were sewn, as they stood, on 
to parchment bands which were led in the conventional way through holes in the vellum 
case ; to which they were also attached by tackets. 

2 I am speaking here only of the materials on which the writing is done : the use of 
unsuitable materials in the make-up of documents (particularly, unsuitable leather) 
begins rather earlier. 


protection, the parchment, vellum and paper of our ancestors 
should (allowing for fair wear and tear) have reached us ' as 
good as new ' : but in an enormous number of cases they have 
not. Why is this ? What is the protection they have lacked ? 

An unfair amount of wear resulting from unsuitable forms of 
make-up — holes or breaks caused by double folding ; undue 
strain on stitches owing to the choice of a wrong binding form ; 
corrosion by metal pins ; the tearing of large papers or parch- 
ments clumsily filed or parcelled ; and so forth — this is, of 
course, responsible for a large amount of the work which passes 
through a repairer's hands : and we have endeavoured in 
earlier sections x to provide for its prevention or cure. But 
large as is the extent of the damage which has been done in 
these ways in the past my own conclusion is that it is small 
compared with the ravages of certain natural enemies 2 to 
which the carelessness or ignorance of custodians has exposed 
(and still does expose) documentary collections. Enormously 
the most frequent and most destructive of these is fungus, which 
is responsible for most of the tattered parchments I have seen : 
but we have to reckon also with bacterial destruction and with 
insect pests. 

Taking these in the reverse order. Insect Pests are not so 
frequent in England as to necessitate, for instance, the use of an 
infusion of poison 3 in the paste, etc., used in our repositories : 
there are obvious objections to such a practice, though no 
doubt in certain parts of the world the prevalence of the danger 
justifies it. On the other hand our documents are from time 
to time attacked by various kinds of burrowing larvae and the 
Archivist should be prepared to deal with these. The most 

1 See above Part II, §5. 

2 I exclude mice and rats because we have already referred to them and because 
though their destructive activities in the past have been very great they are now a danger 
which is normally well recognized and provided for. At the same time the Archivist 
(especially if he has under his charge parchments, which provide them with food as well 
as home) should not allow himself to feel too secure. It is extraordinarily difficult (if 
not impossible) to be sure of excluding them : and two or three mice, once they are in, 
may remain undetected for a very long time and do enormous damage. All custodians 
should accustom themselves to have an eye for their traces — excrement, small scraps of 
bitten paper or parchment, and foot marks. 

3 Corrosive Sublimate is usually recommended. 


important noted up to date l are the varieties of the powder- 
post beetle (Lyctus), 2 the common furniture beetle (Anobium), 2 
and the death-watch beetle (Xestobium) 2 : to which must be 
added the larvae of the common * clothes ' and ' house ' moths 
(Borkhausenia pseudospretella, etc.). 3 The range of activity of the 
wood-mining insects varies ; some confining themselves (it is 
said) to the sapwood in certain hard woods, whereas others 
(varieties of anobium, for example) will apparently attack 
anything. For the Archivist points of danger are obviously 
the wooden boards of early bindings, wood forming part of any 
boxes or containers, and (if he uses them) wooden shelves. The 
readiest means of detection are the little piles of dust which 
drop from the holes made by the insects : though it might be 
remarked that detection here takes place at rather a late stage. 
How is the Archivist to meet these dangers ? The obvious 
precaution is to exclude wood from the Repository altogether. 
If this is judged impossible or extreme (we have ourselves 
admitted teak for shelving in the previous appendix) the 
Archivist must recognize the necessity for careful supervision 
of the variety and quality 4 of the wood employed and a regular 
look out for the signs of ' worm.' He must also (if it may be 
said without offence) be a little cautious in accepting the 
assurances of the expert as to the particular and exclusive diet 
of any given variety of ' beetle ' : obviously the ' book-worm ' 
(a name which probably covers the operations of several 
varieties) 5 must have turned at some time from wood to paper 
or parchment and there is evidence that he has liked the 

1 On wood-mining insects in general see Department of Scientific and Industrial 
Research (Forest Products Research), Bulletin No. 16, and Furniture Beetles, their Life- 
History and how to check or prevent the Damage caused by the Worm (British Museum 
(Natural History) Economic Series No. u). 

2 On these three species in particular see Department of Scientific and Industrial 
Research (Forest Products Research), Leaflet No. 3 (November 1935), Leaflet No. 8 (August 
1935) and Leaflet No. 4 (December 1933). 

3 On this subject see Clothes Moths and House Moths, their Life-History, Habits and 
Control (British Museum (Natural History) Economic Series No. 14). 

4 Sapwood seems to be uncomfortably common in the oak stocked by modern timber- 
yards : and owing to the disuse of quartering it may occur on both edges of a plank, and 
even in the centre. 

5 The worst is said to be anobium paniceum. 


change : both materials contain, in fact, in the shape of size, 
what is probably a suitable food for many of these larvae. 

In his choice of methods for dealing with the pests when 
precautions for their exclusion have proved inadequate the 
Archivist is limited by the nature of his materials : he obviously 
cannot use heat nor, in general, a liquid application. 1 Remain 
the possibilities of vaporization 2 and various materials have 
been suggested. 3 In regard to these it must be clearly stated 
that we have at present (at most) only laboratory tests to assure 
us that they will have no undesirable result at some future date 
on the materials exposed to them. With this reservation 
English opinion is at present recommending the use of para- 
dichlorbenzene crystals 4 in the proportion of one pound per 
ten cubic feet. The crystals may be laid at the bottom of a 
large box and the volumes etc. placed on a grating above them : 
the box is then kept closed (all joints being carefully sealed with 
vaseline or some other luting) for not less than ten days. 

This treatment can be used also to deal with the larvae of 
moths : whose ravages, especially on leather, are not perhaps 
of frequent occurrence but are particularly frightening when 
they do happen. 5 

Decay of writing materials due to bacterial action has been 
very little investigated : and conditions, nowadays, should 
not be such as to produce it. For both reasons we shall say 
little on the subject : but in the case of parchment or vellum 
documents which have been actually immersed in water a 
state may be set up in which all the layers of the material 
combine to form a lump of solid glue. Parts thus affected are 

1 For wood which must if possible be retained (e. g. the boards of old books) a thorough 
soaking with ordinary natural turpentine is recommended. 

2 At the Huntington Library a device is used which combines a vacuum treatment 
with ' carboxide ' vaporization (see T. M. Iiams in The Library Quarterly II, p. 375 : 
1932). But this procedure, though no doubt admirably effective, could hardly be applied 
universally in a large repository and involves a special installation. 

3 See the works already cited. 

4 Laboratory tests have failed to shew any deterioration in ancient or modern paper, 
parchment, vellum, cloth or leather exposed to this vapour. 

s If it once obtains an entry this variety seems to multiply very easily and quickly : it 
lurks between the folds of leather, and loose covers to books make a particularly good 
home for it. 


of no further use and as the mischief, once started, may 
apparently go on slowly spreading for a very long time they 
should be broken off and the remaining edges thoroughly 
cleaned and dried. Parchments which have been soaked should 
be opened out as soon as possible and left to dry naturally [not 
by means of artificial heat). Paper documents, it may be 
noted, after immersion for a considerable time are often very 
little the worse except for loss of size ; which can easily be made 
good : unless, of course, they have been left wet and fungus 
has supervened. 

So we come to the question of Mildew. Although the 
various fungi 1 which pass under this name have been the subject 
of a good deal of writing, little investigation has been made from 
the point of view of the Archivist or Librarian. The subject, 
however, is a very important one. My own belief is that a 
state of mildew very frequently happens without the custodian 
being aware of it : often the growth, though wide spread, 
does not develop to a size which forces itself upon the attention 
and indeed it is possible for documents of all kinds — even books 
of dark colour — to be badly infected without anything being 
visible unless the surface is tilted to catch the light in a particular 
way. The growth may then die away without anything being 
perceptible for (perhaps) a long time : but the mischief has 
been done and presently the spots where the fungus has eaten 
away the size and weakened the fibres will discolour or, if the 
mischief has gone deep, drop away : in a bad case the spots 
may be confluent and almost the whole document fall to dust. 
I believe there is no collection of any size and age in this 
country without specimens, very often numerous specimens, of 
damage of this kind. 

What facts, then, can be established about mildew which 
will enable us to combat it ? Considerable research 2 some 
years ago took the form of investigating the temperature and 

1 One of the most usual in England is apparently a variety of Penicillium — P. Chryso- 
genum Thorn. See an article by Percy Groom and Th£rese Panisset in Annals of Applied 
Biology, xx (i933), P- 633. 

* See the article cited above. 


relative humidity at which, in England, fungus could be made 
to grow on any of the materials normally occurring in Archives 
or their make-up : and though it cannot be said that final 
results were reached it is possible to make some definite state- 
ments. In the first place the spores are normally air-borne, 
from which it follows that precaution in the way of sterilizing 
paste etc. are of little value. Secondly it seems to be 
established that the spores will not germinate at a lower 
relative humidity than 62 per cent. We may pause here to 
note that the obvious expedient — that of maintaining a constant 
62 per cent, humidity — is not feasible without a very elaborate 
system of ' conditioned ' air. On the other hand the Archivist 
can at little cost instal a recording hygrometer 1 and become, 
at least, aware of seasons of special danger ; and unless he is 
a meteorologist the results will probably surprise him : he will 
discover that a fine day is not necessarily the time for airing a 
cold repository. It should be remembered in this connexion 
that paper and parchment are extremely hygroscopic ; and 
that they do not get rid of humidity as quickly as they absorb it. 
But there is another point to be noticed. It appears that 
mildew will not normally germinate in disturbed air 2 : and the 
obvious corollary is that if we can disturb the air constantly, 
everywhere, leaving no ' pockets ' of stagnant air, we shall 
arrest the trouble : recent experiment has therefore been in 
the direction of trying not only to keep the air in the repository 
somewhere near the safety point of humidity but also to keep 
it constantly in movement. Whether this will be completely 
successful cannot be determined in a short time but so far 
results have been encouraging. The exact plan adopted must 
naturally be determined by local circumstances 3 but to begin 

1 and a psychrometer for testing purposes. 

2 A favourable place for its growth is between two neighbouring books on a shelf. 

3 One method in use at the Record Office is that of linked rooms : the air being 
driven from one room to another by a fan placed high in the party wall and returning 
through holes in the lower part. If pairs of rooms thus linked are again linked with 
each other by further holes placed at different levels the movement of the air will be 
forced into a multitude of different paths : the only ' pockets ' should in fact be on one 
side of the first and last in a series of connected rooms. 


with passage for air must be provided for by the pattern and 
material used for shelving, racking and mezzanine floors (see 
App. Ill) : after this it is a question of introducing electric 
fans to disturb the air and adjusting the directions in which it 
is driven in such a way that no corner is left undisturbed. 

A final question is the possibility of re-inforcing the work of 
' conditioned ' or ' disturbed ' air by means of fungicides 
which will sterilize the documents. That most recommended 
is the vapour given off by thymol crystals when subjected to 
gentle warmth. The only thing to be said against this is that 
its complete harmlessness to materials has not been proved : 
it has in fact at times a softening effect on vellum, 1 size and 
glue the reason for which has not, I believe, been explained. 
But the use of a thymolized duster can do little harm. 2 


Note to New Edition. 

Except for one or two verbal corrections this Appendix is 
re-printed in its original form. Comparatively little has 
been published since ig22 specially concerning the Receipt 
but important articles, etc., by Miss M. H. Mills 3 and 
Mr. A. B. Steel 4 should be noted. 

We have attempted in this Appendix to supply illustration 
of a number of points which have been dealt with in the text. 
One Archive Group — the Exchequer of Receipt, whose Archives 
extend from the twelfth century to 1834 — has been chosen 

Vellum bindings in contact with heavily thymolized paper became, very alarmingly, 
covered with a sticky exudation. This case was an example of the way in which practical 
experience may produce conditions which the laboratory has failed to anticipate. 

2 A thymolizing cabinet can be made of a large iron box with a tray of the crystals at 
the bottom, and below this an ordinary electric light to supply the necessary warmth. 
By lifting the lid and using an electric fan, one can of course thymolize the air of a room 
with this cabinet. 

3 See particularly Surrey Record Society, Number xxi, 1924. 

4 See English Historical Reviezv, xlvii (1932), p. 204; and other articles there cited. 


because of its comparative simplicity — now — and because of 
its peculiar aptitude for the purpose. Its Archives — none 
of them much and the bulk of them not at all explored up to 
the present, although they include series of the first importance 
for historians of all periods — afford as fine examples as could 
be obtained anywhere of the use of Administrative History as 
a key to the arrangement and comprehension of Archives, of 
the explanatory notes required in an Archive Inventory, 
and (most important of all) of the misadventures to which 
Archives in all ages and countries are liable, especially during 
the processes of sorting and classification. 

Now the questions of Listing, Arrangement, and Classification 
form the very corner-stone of Archive Science ; no trouble is 
too great to get them truly settled. Yet it is, and probably 
always will be, a popular belief that sorting, listing, and 
indexing are mechanical processes which any one can with 
little or no preparation easily master ; it is a tradition that a 
prominent politician once seriously suggested that the whole 
of the legal and other Archives of the sixteenth and early 
seventeenth centuries in England might be arranged on a 
system based on the requirements of persons interested in the 
life of Shakespeare by sorters imported from the General Post 
Office. This is, no doubt, an extreme case ; but the fact 
remains that the dangers attendant on anything but the most 
carefully directed system of classification and the fact that 
damage done in half an hour may require months of re- 
adjustment or even turn out to be irreparable, are things which 
it has proved in the past extraordinarily difficult for Archivists 
and others to see. 

It is mainly for this reason that we have set down some 
account of what past generations (some of them not very far 
back) did with the Archives of the Receipt. Here we may see 
examples of nearly all the Archive mistakes that have ever been 
made, not only in ancient but in modern times ; indeed, 
Archivists in America and those interested in the fate of Records 
produced under modern conditions in England or elsewhere 
will find close parallels to observations they may themselves 


make in the course of their work. The crowding out of the 
more ancient Archives in a collection in order to make room 
for new ones, and their bestowal in unsuitable places ; the 
rapid disappearance of traditional knowledge of the meaning 
and value of anything except current series ; the hasty arrange- 
ment of newly-discovered Archive treasures after a fashion 
which temporarily satisfies the Historian of the day, at the cost 
of confusion and loss to the Archives themselves and ultimately 
to all students — all these are troubles which are liable to 
occur at any time, which are occurring now in some places. 
In the case of the Exchequer of Receipt, though much of the 
damage occurred so late as in the nineteenth century, we are 
yet sufficiently far away from it now to judge of its effects. 

(i) Archive History of the Exchequer of Receipt. 

(a) Origin, Functions and earliest Archives. This Department, as its 
name implies, was charged with the simplest of financial functions, the 
taking in and issuing of the King's Treasure. The Receipt when it took 
in money gave a portion (the stock) of a wooden tally to the person who 
had paid, keeping the other part (the foil) itself; and when it paid out 
it kept the King's writ which had authorized the payment. These foils 
and brevia were its Archives, and could be produced for the satisfaction 
either of itself or of the Scaccarium at times of audit. 1 

(b) The Receipt Roll. The requirements of the scribes of the Pipe Roll 
(the main record of the Scaccarium), and later their own convenience, 
led the officials of the Receipt gradually to institute a Receipt Roll 2 upon 
which they copied the inscriptions from their tallies. Beginning with 
a very simple and partial roll modelled on Pipe Roll precedents, such as 
one which has survived belonging to the year 1185, 3 they reached a fixed 
form, 4 in which receipts are arranged under counties, the total sum of each 
of these being cast up at the foot, in 4 Henry III. The Receipt Roll is 
now purely a document made for the benefit of the Officials of the Receipt ; 
and in consequence it is speedily found (21 Henry III) that a more con- 
venient form is that of a roll on which tallies are entered in single column 

1 For the early history of the Exchequer and the Receipt see the Introduction 
to the Oxford edition of the Dialogus (by Messrs. Hughes, Crump and Johnson) ; 
Dr. R. L. Poole's The Exchequer in the Twelfth Century ; and articles on Exchequer 
Tallies in Archaeologia (lxii and lxxiv), and on the Financial Records of the Reign of King 
John in the Royal Historical Society's Magna Carta Commemoration volume. 

2 The early forms of this roll are dealt with in an article on Records of Receipts 
from the English Jewry in the Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England , 
viii, p. 19 ; see also the article in Archaeologia, lxxiv, cited above. 

3 Published in facsimile by the London School of Economics (ed. Hubert Hall). 

4 Receipt Rolls, 3. 


in chronological order as they are made out, counties being added in 
the margin. 1 

(c) The Liberate Roll. Meanwhile the usefulness of an enrolment of 
some or all of the other class of originals preserved in the department, 
the writs ordering issue from the Treasury (brevia de liberate), had also 
been adopted, giving us the Exchequer series of Liberate Rolls. So closely 
were the two operations of Receipt and Issue connected that for a time 
these Liberate Rolls were sewn up with the Receipt Rolls, as in the first 
surviving example. 2 These rolls, under a great variety of titles, show 
also a certain variety of form, and we may even get two for a single period 
which are not exactly the same, one perhaps including writs for recurring 
payments such as salaries {brevia currentia or patentia), while others contain 
only those which have been fully paid off (brevia persoluta). The latter 
form finally triumphs. 3 

(d) The Issue Roll. Concurrently with the Liberate Roll there arose 
a simplified form of it in which the formal parts of the writ were omitted, 
leaving only the name of the payee, cause of payment, and amount. 
The first of these to survive is a single-columned roll of 25 Henry III, 4 
arranged chronologically and with day dates sometimes given. This 
form continued till 33 Edward I, 5 but in addition to it, to meet the case 
where payments on a single large writ were spread over a long time, 
there arose a double-columned form in which after an entry of the 
name of a payee space was left for the addition of further instalments : 
as the single-columned roll followed the contemporary form of Liberate 
in including only those writs which were persoluta, it will be seen that the 
same payments might appear in the double-columned roll of one term 
and the single-columned one of the next. This double-columned form, 
which begins by being no more than a draft in 38 Henry III, 6 was 
apparently found more convenient at a time when detailed expenditure 
was largely in the hands of the wardrobe 7 : it became for a time the only 
roll kept, till quite suddenly (19 Edward II) a single-columned roll, 8 
arranged like the receipt roll under day, dates, and months, completely 
ousted it. 

(e) Differentiations. We have thus by the beginning of the reign of 
Edward I, and the end of that of Edward II respectively, fully developed 

1 Receipt Rolls, 12. 2 Ibid. 3. 

3 We have a set from 1 to 19 Edward I, and another beginning 30 Edward I. 

4 Issue Rolls, 1. 5 Ibid. 127. 

6 Ibid. 8. It reaches a more regular form about 3 Edward I (Issue Rolls, 26) and a 
final one by a gradual improvement on this. 

7 Cp. Tout, Administrative History, vol. ii, chapters vii and viii. 

8 Issue Rolls, 218. Two fine specimens of rolls of this kind for 44 Edward III were 
printed in an English translation by F. Devon (Issue Roll of Thomas de Brantingham 

London, 1835) : Devon also published two volumes of selections from 

medieval and seventeenth-century Issue Rolls. It is perhaps worth noticing that 
the second of the two rolls printed by him is not Brantingham's but belonged to 
one of the Chamberlains : also that it begins in the year 1369 and should come 
first — the Exchequer year of Edward III started before the regnal year. 


forms of Receipt Roll and Issue Roll at the Receipt. Meanwhile the possibility 
of differentiation of particular classes of entry had been illustrated from 
time to time by such classes as those of the Special Jewish Receipt Rolls, 
Taxation Receipt Rolls, and so forth. 1 

If) The Triplicate Arrangement. A more striking development was 
that of the increase in the number of copies made. Early in the reign 
of Edward I, when the Receipt Roll was established in its final form while 
the Issue Roll was still being made up in two forms simultaneously, traces 
appear of an arrangement by which each of these rolls was made up at 
least in duplicate ; so that we get in each of the two Exchequer terms four 
Issue and two Receipt Rolls — twelve in all in the year. The Receipt was 
presided over from the earliest times by the Treasurer and the two 
Chamberlains or their deputies (known as the Chamberlains of the 
Receipt), and the names of these Chamberlains are now associated with the 
various rolls. Either this is a fragmentary survival of, or it soon gave 
way to, a system of triplicate rolls, 2 one for each of the three officials we have 
mentioned, whose name written at the head or on the back generally 
distinguishes his roll. Any additional rolls there might be (Jewish ones, 3 
for instance) were made in the same extravagant quantities. Except for 
the institution for a short time of a fourth Issue Roll 4 (which may indicate 
the emergence into fuller authority of the Treasurer's Clerk, afterwards a 
most important official), the triplicate, though not, as we shall see, always 
kept up, remains for nearly three centuries the accepted form. 

(g) Further Developments. A further development resulted from the 
wide development of the use of Tallies for the purpose of Assignments. 5 
Outwardly this affected our Receipt and Issue Rolls by the notes, 6 cancella- 
tions, and so forth which it caused in them. It also gave new importance 

1 The nature of Issue Rolls did not lend itself so readily to this process in medieval 
times, but there are a few examples of rolls of ear-marked issues (e. g. Issue Rolls, 
Nos. 1 310 to 13 15) : after the institution of Exchequer Annuities, however, in the 
reign of William III, large numbers of special Issue Rolls had to be made (Issue Rolls 
1330 to 1692), to the annoyance of the Clerk of the Pells (see his report, cited below, 
to the Special Committee of 1800). The Special Taxation Receipt Rolls run from 
19 Edward I to 11 Edward III (Receipt Rolls, Nos. 161 1 to 1745). 

2 There are triplicate rolls for the Easter term of 22 Edward I (Issue Rolls 
87 to 89 and Receipt Rolls 129 to 131) : and we learn by a note on a Receipt Roll 
(No. 137) that in 23 Edward I there were three rolls, one for the Baron of the 
Exchequer who was then representing the Treasurer and two in nomine Camera- 

3 These run from 14 John to 23 Edward I, among the Archives of the Receipt, 
but there are others belonging to the same series among those of the Exchequer, King's 
Remembrancer's, and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer's departments : see the article on 
this subject, quoted above. 

4 Called Protecolla of the Treasurer : 28 to 38 Edward III (Issue Rolls, Nos. 1289 
to 1304). 

5 Cf. Archaeologia, loc. cit. ; and Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, second 
series, xxv, p. 34. 

6 Reflecting what are known as the pro and sol variations of tallies. 


to the Tellers {Numeraires), 1 who were concerned with the actual handling 
of money, and to a class of documents the first set of which were probably, 2 
and the second certainly, made by those officials. These are the Jornalia 
Rolls (21 Edward I to 10 Edward II), giving a daily and weekly 'state 
of the Treasury ' and balances ; 3 and a hundred years later the similar 
Tellers' Rolls and Tellers' Books (Henry IV to Elizabeth), which probably 
mark the beginning of the rise of those officials to the importance which 
they finally enjoyed under the reforms of Henry VII. 

(h) Final Form. With the Original Tallies 4 and Original Writs 5 on 
files, the Receipt Rolls (ordinary and supplementary), the Liberate and 
Issue Rolls, the Jornalia and Tellers' 1 Rolls, Rolls of Tallie Innovate 6 (tallies 
which for any reason had to be renewed), and a certain amount of 
the usual Miscellanea, we have the whole body of the medieval Archives 
of the Exchequer of Receipt. As they stand in this arrangement and 
in their present order at the Public Record Office they are, on the surface 
at any rate, a simple matter enough. Let us continue their history a 
little further. 

(t) The Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. The Issue Rolls, dwindling 
in importance as payments out of the Exchequer became more and more 
a matter of assignments by Tally (figuring therefore on the so-called 
Receipt Roll), appear to have ceased altogether during the reign of Edward IV. 
The Receipt Roll never lapsed, and up to about the tenth year of Elizabeth 
retained, though irregularly, some traces of the Triplicate arrangement. 
Fanshawe, himself an Exchequer Official, writing in that period, tells us 7 
' the Comptrollers 8 of the Pell 9 be the two Chamberlains' Clarks that should 

1 These officials are not mentioned in the Dialogus : Madox quotes a reference 
to them in 9 Henry III {History of the Exchequer , Chap, xxiv, Section 14). 

2 One or two bear an ascription to one or other of the Chamberlains and they 
appear to be kept normally in triplicate ; but their close connexion with the Tellers 
is evidenced by a note in one of them (E. 405/1/15), Hie obiit Ely as de Aylesbir' 
qui fuit numerator Recepte. 

3 The balances are given by a smaller roll attached to it, called the Billa Reman- 

4 Nearly all of these were deliberately destroyed in 1834, when the ' immoderate 
burning ' of them in the stoves used to heat the House of Lords caused the burning 
of the Houses of Parliament. A few hundreds (practically all returned stocks) which 
had somehow been stored in the Chapel of the Pyx at Westminster have been discovered 
in recent years (Archaeologia, loc. cit.). 

5 A fragmentary series survives, including the Henry II writ printed by Madox 
(History of the Exchequer, ch. x, section 13, note) : the series contains hardly any of the 
original files. 

8 The procedure in connexion with lost tallies dates from the Statute of Rhuddlan, 
14 Edward I : cf. Ryley, Pleadings in Parliament, p. 450. 

7 Sir T. F., The Practice of the Exchequer Court . . . (London, 1658), pp. 112, 113. 
The book was written much earlier than it was printed. 

8 i. e. Keepers of the Counter Rolls. 

9 i. e. the Receipt Roll. The word Pellis (skin) is used both of this (Pellis Recepte) 
and the Issue Roll (Pellis Exitus) ; whence the name Clerk of the Pells. After the medieval 


either of them keep a controlment of the Pell . . . which now here be 
sometimes kept, and sometimes not. . . . They were wont also in ancient 
time, either of them to keep a like controllment of the sayd Pell of Issues 
. . . which these many years was not kept by them '. The same author 
tells us 1 that the Clerk of the Pells (who represents the Treasurer's Clerk 
of earlier times) ' keepeth the Pelle in Parchment, called Pellis Recepti 
wherein he entreth every Tellers . . . parchment Bill . . . which (as I 
learn) now is made in a paper book and hath been begun but of late days 
to keep the Pelle fair and from razing ' ; and again 2 ' he also in old 
time kept . . . the Pellis Exitus which of late was received 3 to be kept 
by him . . . and thought very necessary but now since (as I learn) it is 
layd down again as thought not so necessary '. The Teller's Bill is 
merely an extra stage in the production of the Tally 4 and the Paper 
Book referred to the Receipt Book which duplicates the Receipt Roll ; 
and the statement with regard to the Issue Roll is confirmed by certain 
papers in the Miscellanea of the Receipt 5 and others in the Lansdowne 
MSS. at the British Museum, 8 and by the Rolls themselves. The series 
was revived first for a few years in 9 Elizabeth, and then more permanently 
in 39 Elizabeth. After this we have a more or less continuous single series 
of both Receipt and Issue Rolls up to modern times, kept by the Clerk of 
the Pells. This official, now independent, represented originally, as we have 
seen, the Treasurer : the two Chamberlains of the Receipt disappear after 
the medieval period from the functions in which we are here interested, 
except that they retain a (doubtless lucrative) ceremonial part in the most 
ancient of all, the cutting of the Tallies, until Tallies cease to be in the 
nineteenth century. 7 

(j) New Classes of Archives at the Receipt. Henry VII had instituted 
sweeping reforms at the Exchequer of Receipt : the result of these, and 
of the even greater changes which followed the putting of the office of 
Treasurer into Commission (first in 16 12 and permanently in 17 14), the 
institution of the Treasury Board, and the final separation of the Treasury 
from the Exchequer in the time of Charles II, 8 may be seen in many new 
Archive series at the Exchequer of Receipt : Account Books, Assignment 
Books, Cash Books, Certificate Books, these and some thirty more distinct 
series (some of them in duplicate) date all from after the medieval period. 

(k) The Clerk of the Pells and the Auditor of the Receipt. With these later 

period the word is used particularly to distinguish the parchment rolls of the older 
administration from the paper books of the new. 

1 Sir T. F., op. cit., p. 112. 2 Ibid., pp. 112, 113. 

3 Apparently a printer's error for ' revived '. 

4 See an account of seventeenth-century procedure in L. T. R. Miscellaneous Books 
117, cited in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, loc. cit. 

5 E. 407/71. These papers are referred to again below. 

6 Especially in Lansdowne MSS., 151 (f. 103) and 171 (ff. 308 and 353-8). 

7 The abolition of the old system was delayed until the then holders of these two 
offices should die or retire from them (see Archaeologia, Ixii, loc. cit.). For the work of the 
Chamberlains at the seventeenth century ' Tally Court', see Proc. Soc. Antiq., loc. cit. 

8 See Royal Commission, Second Report I, p. 25, and the authorities there quoted. 


Archives we should here be little concerned, for our purpose is merely 
to trace the Archive history of the earlier classes, which comprehended 
in medieval times the whole business of the Receipt. The later Archives 
introduce us, however, to an element of confusion in the shape of a new 
distinction between the Archives of the Clerk of the Pells, whom we know, 
and those of a post-medieval official, the Auditor of the Receipt. These 
two quarrelled for precedence in the sixteenth century and though this 
quarrel was settled x in the end in favour of the Clerk of the Pells, the 
other official, who represented the old Scriptor Talliarum (another Treasurer's 
clerk), emerged with the definite function of entering and enrolling many 
of the proceedings which the Clerk of the Pells recorded. The Clerk of the 
Pells then, after 1597, centred in himself the whole of the old functions 
which originally he shared with the two Chamberlains' Deputies ; but shared 
the newer functions with the Auditor : the older Archives therefore are at 
first single, then triplicate, and later single again ; while the newer ones 
are in many cases duplicate throughout. 

(/) The Receipt Archives in the Nineteenth Century. Of all this the early 
nineteenth century knew nothing ; and the student who endeavoured about 
i860, when the ancient Archives of the Receipt were thrown open to 
inspection, to find his way about these most important collections by way 
of the available lists was involved in an amazing labyrinth. To begin with, 
there were not only the most tantalizing gaps, extending over perhaps a 
number of years, but these would be emphasized from time to time by 
the discovery that other years seemed to possess a plethora of rolls. These, 
when examined, might prove to be wrongly described — it was by no means 
unusual for the ascription to be a century or so out in date — or they might 
be duplicates, or fragments ; or he might find two rolls each apparently 
complete and covering to some extent the same period, but beginning or 
ending at different dates ; 2 or the Receipt Roll might prove to be an 
Issue Roll or vice versa ; or he might meet with a roll described as Receipt 
or Issue which was really what we know now as a Tallie Innovate Roll 
or Jornalia ; or in the midst of a fairly continuous series of ordinary Receipt 
Rolls come upon special Jewish or Taxation Rolls. Worst of all, the rolls, 
both of Receipt and Issue, were divided into two classes labelled Pells and 
Auditors. Apparently this meant something : if the historian pursued 
his researches into the later Archives of the Department he would find 
these labels applied to series which did appear to be distinct sets with 
a definite relationship. But among the Receipt and Issue Rolls they could 
not be made to show any meaning at all ; for sometimes the Pells set would 
include triplicate rolls for a single period for which the Auditors set had 
none, sometimes the position would be reversed, sometimes the Rolls would 
be divided in one proportion or another between the two ; and finally the 
Auditors series ceased altogether, the Issue Rolls in the reign of Edward IV 
and the Receipt Rolls in that of Elizabeth. Our student's confusion would 

1 By a decision of Lord Burleigh, see below, paragraph (<?), footnote. 

2 When a new Deputy Chamberlain or Treasurer took up his duties it was customary 
for him to begin a new roll. 


be even worse confounded if he delved so deep as to discover cases where 
rolls had been transferred from Pells series to Auditors or vice versa ; for 
there was no reason that any one could see for these transfers. In fine 
the tangle seemed hopeless ; and yet until it was unravelled no one could 
be sure that he was appreciating properly the value of the Rolls he used. 

If he had the fortune to light on a rather scarce book, that of Sir Thomas 
Fanshawe, which we have already quoted, the inquirer might gain a gleam 
of light from that author's statement that the two Chamberlains' clerks 
anciently acted as Controllers to the Clerk of the Pells. ' Here,' he might 
say, 'is the origin of the Pells class : but what of the Auditors ? and why 
does Fanshawe apparently refer to a triplicate series whereas I am 
confronted by a duplicate one ? and anyhow, where has the duplicate one 
come from ? or where has the triplicate one gone to ? because up to now, 
in all the Reports that I can find, from 1718 to 1841, I see no trace of 
anything but a single one ? Moreover, if this division into Auditors and 
Pells series is correct, as I suppose it is, why do Auditor's Receipt and Issue 
Rolls stop short, while all the rest of the Auditor's records continue up 
to the nineteenth century ? ' And so forth. 

(m) The first attempt at arrangement : Westminster, Whitehall, and Somerset 
House. To appreciate fully the difficulty of the situation we must glance 
at the history of our Archives during the period immediately preceding 
the appearance of this remarkable list. Our imaginary student would 
probably turn in the first place to Devon's volume of Issue Rolls, which 
incidentally would puzzle him with a seventeenth-century list from the 
British Museum x showing a single set of Receipt Archives at the Pells 
Office. It would introduce him to the Report of the Lords Committees, 2 in which 
he would find that Madox, the great historian of the Exchequer, had been 
able to contribute little information as to the Receipt beyond a reference 
to ' important valuable records, that lie in a sort buried ' ; it would also 
direct him to the Report 3 of the Special Committee of the House of Commons 
on the Cottonian Library, where again little information is to be obtained. 
Turning to the ordinary sources for the Archive History of the Public 
Records (the Reports of the Record Commission (1800 to 1837) and of the 
Special Committees of 1800 and 1837 and later those of the Deputy Keeper 
of the Public Records), he would find that the Controller General, to 
whom Devon dedicated his book, had possession of the functions and 
Archives of the Exchequer of Receipt from 1834, when the Statute * 

1 British Museum, Lansdowne MSS., 254 : a seventeenth-century document to 
which we refer again below. It is curious that Devon, who no doubt used the Record 
Commission Catalogue of these MSS., did not come across the note on the Receipt 
by Sir Vincent Skinner (151, f. 103), which would have given him the key to its medieval 
archive arrangement ; he might also have got a hint from Agarde's Compendium, printed 
by Palgrave, Antient Kalendars, II, p. 311, in 1836. 

2 London, 17 18. 

3 Reports from Special Committees to the House of Commons, vol. i, 1731. Devon 
quotes this by error as a Report of the Record Commission. 

4 The Statute was of 1783 (5 William and Mary) but could come into force only 
on the death or retirement of certain persons then holding office. The Controller 


abolishing the ancient system of that department came into force. The 
first mention of the modern handling of our Archives, he would discover, 
is during this period ; when we find Devon himself dealing with them, 
first at the Office of the Clerk of the Pells in the Brick Tower at Westminster 
and then at that of the Controller General in Whitehall, to which they 
were removed. 1 Devon apparently knew of no division between Pells 
and Auditors, but as his lists had disappeared 2 it was rather difficult for 
the student to know to what rolls he was referring. There remained, 
it is true, at the end of his Report the table concerning rolls of the reigns 
of Henry III and Edward I which he had found at the ' Pells ' Office ; 
but as this shewed, for example, ten Issue and Liberate Rolls of the year 
19 Edward I, whereas the lists of 1859 could produce only nine, 3 of which 
three were Auditors Issue Rolls, two Pells Issue Rolls, and four Liberate Rolls, 
this, if anything, deepened the mystery. Hardly more information was 
available as to a collection of similar rolls found and cursorily inspected by 
Devon at Somerset House. These were removed under the superintendence 
of the Controller General's clerk, Mr. Ashburnham Bulley, but of this the 
ordinary reader would be likely to know little, since the details survive 
only in a very obscure place. 4 Even when Mr. Bulley's account is dis- 
covered it is misleading, since he apparently counted backwards ; describing 
the rolls as extending from the reign of Edward IV, whereas we now know 
from Devon's list that nearly all the existing rolls subsequent to that date 
came from the Clerk of the Pells Office. 

(n) Removal to the Record Office. The next person to handle the Rolls 
after Devon and Bulley was W. H. Black, who in 1841 describes the process 
of their removal to the Public Record Office. 5 Black evidently knew 
that he was not dealing with a single series — he speaks of Pells and Counter- 
Pells 6 — but he has nothing to say about an Auditors series of Rolls, though 
he deals at some length with certain other (genuine) Auditor's Archives 
which were found in the same vault at Somerset House. Apparently he 
did little more than sack up the rolls for removal and deposit them in the 
Record Office, though he records 7 the transfer of three Rolls of Receipts 
and ten of Issues from the set found in the ' vaults ' (Somerset House) to 
the set from the Pells Office. Probably he had a shrewd idea that the two 
represented originally only one collection ; but as, once more, no lists of 

General continued three of the series of Exchequer of Receipt documents in use — all 
comparatively modern ones. On this practice see above, Part II, § 6 (q). 

1 Record Commission Report, 1837, p. 150 ; cp. the Report from the Special 
Committee to the House of Commons, 1800, p. 131. 

2 Two copies have since been found, one in the British Museum and one in the 
Class of Transcripts at the Public Record Office. 

3 The missing one has been found ultimately among a class of Miscellaneous Rolls. 

4 Communications between the Treasury and the Comptroller General of the Exchequer 
. . . (Sessional Papers, House of Lords, 1840, No. 58). 

5 Reports of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records, I and II. 

6 Possibly Agarde's Compendium, published by Palgrave in 1836, had introduced 
him to the phrase. 

7 D. K.'s Reports, III, App. i, p. 31. 


his period survived it is difficult to be certain what his proceedings were. 
He had, so far as is known, nothing to do with the Rolls after 1842. 

(0) 'Auditors and Pells.' After this we hear of nothing regarding these 
Archives in the Deputy Keeper's Reports except for some ticketing, until 
in 1859 1 we find set out the mysterious Auditors and Pells arrangement 
in full force. A further report two years later tells us that 265 Receipt 
and Issue Rolls, removed from the Chapter House at Westminster, 2 have 
been intercalated in the Pells Series ; but once more no list remains to 
make identification of these possible. 

It might be argued from the above that the Pells set represented the 
Pells Office rolls plus those from the Chapter House, while the Auditors 
rolls were those which came from Somerset House ; where indeed they 
had had for neighbours (as we have seen) certain archives more entitled 
than themselves to the Auditors epithet. The only trouble is that no 
arithmetic will make the numbers mentioned in the earlier reports fit 
in with those of the two sets if 1859 : an example of this has already been 
given in the case of the rolls for the year 19 Edward I. 

(p) The Results. In fine, the lists as they stood were incomprehensible 
besides being extremely inaccurate, and the task of finding out from 
external evidence what had occurred seemed hopeless. Actually these 
Archives had to remain for about fifty years, practically useless for any 
serious work, before time could be found to reconstruct their correct 
arrangement as it is set out at the beginning of this section. To do this 
involved a fresh examination into their Archive history so far as it could 
be traced, the disregarding, as unworkable, of the arrangement they were 
under, and the making of an individual examination of between three 
and four thousand rolls. As many were mutilated 3 or had others wrapped 
up inside them, or were rolled up the wrong way, with their date heading 
and the name of the Chamberlain or Treasurer's Clerk to whom they had 
belonged at the innermost end, the task included in numerous cases that 
of unrolling and re-rolling documents, sometimes thirty yards or more in 
length ; beside the identification and dating of misplaced fragments, and 
the working out from internal evidence only of the relations in which these 
rolls had stood to each other and to the general business of their department. 
Even now that this has been done there remain fragments of which the 
ascription is hopelessly lost, and other items of damage which can never 
be repaired. 

Obviously much of the blame for this extraordinary chapter of mistakes 
must rest with those who, although they apparently lacked either time 

1 Ibid. XX, App., p. 149. 

2 Possibly these had some relation to certain rolls of Jewish Accounts which are 
still among the MSS. of the Dean and Chapter (Hist. MSS. Commission, Reports, i, 
p. 96). 

3 Cases were not uncommon where two or even three pieces of a single roll appeared 
under widely different dates, one perhaps among Pells Receipt Rolls, one among Auditors 
Receipt Rolls, and one in one of the classes of Issue Rolls. At least one incomplete roll 
is made up of fragments reassembled from five different points. 


or ability to investigate the rolls themselves, were prepared to sort them 
into these two absurd classes. Had they left them as they received them 
their successors would at any rate not have been burdened with the 
additional task of disproving and undoing this impossible ' arrangement ', 
before they could begin a rational reconstruction. Had they even been 
content to label two of the three collections they received ' Pells ' and the 
other one ' Auditors,' or at least to leave behind them some record of which 
rolls had come from which place, some excuse might be found for them. But 
they were not. It is difficult to imagine anything more ridiculous than the solemn 
transference of a roll, upon no principle which can be discovered, out of one class 
which has no reason for its existence outside the mind of its creator into 
another equally meaningless : yet they sorted, transferred and re- transferred ; 
and as they did so they obliterated nearly all traces behind them. Perhaps 
the most remarkable thing is that many of the rolls not only could be, but 
had been, intelligently described and reasonably arranged : 1 only to 
be wantonly dispersed, misdescribed, and misplaced under an ' arrange- 
ment ' which practically deprived them of meaning for half a century, 
and rendered useless all the work which had so far been done upon them. 
(q) Earlier confusions. It is not suggested that the authors of the 1859 
arrangement are responsible for all the confusion we see in it ; though for 
the way in which it was dealt with they alone must take the blame. There 
was, in fact, a remarkable consensus of ignorance in the opening part of 
the nineteenth century among the officials of the Receipt (who were still 
supposed to carry on ' the ancient course of the Exchequer ' as laid down 
in the Dialogus) about the early history of their own Office and Archives. 
Thus in 1800 the Deputy Chamberlains 2 were not aware that their pre- 
decessors had accumulated any Archives other than the standard weights, 
measures, and coins and possibly a few tallies ; while the Deputy Clerk of 
the Pells (who mentions a tradition that the establishment of the Clerk 
of the Pells 3 commenced in the time of Alfred) admits having records 
from 1 7 15 onwards, but remarks that ' the want of space in the Office 
wherein the principal duties of the Clerk of the Pells are performed has 
necessarily compelled our predecessors and ourselves when encumbered 
by the increase of books and the engrossed copies [i. e. the Rolls] hereinbefore 
described to remove the most antient and useless into the two upper rooms 
of the tower occupied by the Clerk of the Pells : they are deposited therein, 
for the most part, without order or method and covered by the lapse of 
time with dust and dirt. The collections of more than a century, perhaps 
of two, are in general confusion . . .' ; and this with a large proportion 

1 By Devon : see the citation of his Report above ; from which it is seen that 
a quite correctly described Liberate Roll left that class to reappear as ' Miscellaneous '. 
Black, as appears from his Report in 1841, was well aware of the importance of basing 
further work on Devon's list. 

2 Report from the Special Committee to the House of Commons , 1800, p. 128. 

3 Ibid., p. 132. It is curious that this official held the clue, if he had known it, to 
the whole matter : for he was aware of, and mentions {ibid., p. 131), the controversy 
between the Clerk of the Pells and the Auditor. 


of the medieval Archives of the Exchequer of Receipt, from the thirteenth 
century downwards, lying somewhere on their premises and in their 
care ! 1 To this description of eighteenth and nineteenth-century Archive- 
keeping it seems only right to add for completeness some reference, 2 even 
at the cost of a digression, to Devon's description of the vault at Somerset 
House, which he entered by means of a ladder at a place ' which was 
once a window ', and Bulley's representations to the Treasury as to the 
danger and unpleasantness of inhaling the ' decomposed particles and 
dust ' from documents ' damp, mouldering and dirty ', out of a vault 
1 beneath High Water Mark.' 

But to revert to the Officials of the Exchequer of Receipt : the Auditor, 
it is true, appears by the 1800 Report already quoted to have had some 
knowledge of his own Archives. He enumerates them fairly accurately 
in series running mostly from the seventeenth century ; but has nothing 
to say about Rolls. 

If we look further back we find that general ignorance of the early 
history of the Receipt and its archives did not begin in the nineteenth 
century. The 1731 Report, the 1718 Report, and (most striking of all) 
Madox in his History of the Exchequer, all, as we have seen, shew a like 
ignorance: and in 1 741 , after 'methodizing' had been in progress at 
the Treasury of the Receipt for fourteen years, it was possible in a fairly 
extensive schedule 3 of the Records kept there to omit all mention of 
those ' Pelles ' of which Agarde tells us 4 and of which, as we know, 265 
at least came later to the Record Office from that place. It is not till we 
get back to the period of Agarde, Fanshawe, Skinner, and Wardour, 5 
in the end of the sixteenth and beginning of the seventeenth centuries, 
that we find a generation of officials familiar with the ancient triplicate 
arrangement, and the part borne by the Chamberlains of the Receipt 
in that department's functions : from which it would seem that Devon 
may have been right in his conjecture 6 that confusion began under the 

Fanshawe's statement as to the Chamberlains' part has already been 

1 As appears from Devon's First Report and from the seventeenth-century list of 
Rolls at the Pells Office printed by him in his book from the Lansdowne MSS. 

2 See the Sessional Paper, 1840, No. 58, already cited, above (m) note 4. 

3 E. 403/2543 (Pells Patent Book 32), p. 540, appointment of Richard Morley to 
' sort, digest and methodize ' the Records in the Court of the Receipt of the Exchequer 
in succession to John Lawton, appointed 1727, now deceased. 

4 See below. 

6 Of these Arthur Agarde was Deputy Chamberlain ; Thomas Fanshawe was 
King's Remembrancer ; Sir Vincent Skinner was Auditor and Scriptor Talliarum ; 
and Chidiock Wardour was Clerk of the Pells. All took some part, large or small, in 
the controversy to which we have so many times alluded. 

6 Issue Roll of Thomas de Brantingham, Introduction, p. ix. It is possible 
however, that a rather later event — the Great Fire in 1666 — may be responsible. We 
learn from an Account (Audit Office Declared Accounts, 865) that the Records of the 
Receipt were on this occasion put in barges and taken to Nonsuch Palace in Surrey : 
and we may conjecture confusion. 


quoted. Skinner, in a statement preserved among the papers of Sir Julius 
Caesar, gives a full account of the early Receipt and of the reforms of 
Henry VII there as a preliminary to stating the claims of the Auditor 
to precedence over the Clerk of the Pells (Wardour), a matter of which 
another side is seen in the papers preserved at the Receipt. 1 But the most 
valuable contribution is made by Agarde, who in his Compendium 21 (1610) 
states first that ' Mr. Gidiock Warder keepeth the two Pelles th'one of 
Redditus called Introitus and the other of Exitus ... in a rome appoynted 
for that use nerre the Court of Receipt, a great number from King Edward 
the First untill nowe ' ; then that of the four ' Threasauries ' with which 
he deals one contained ' Chamberlains Counterpelles ' (a most instructive 
phrase for any one who would consider it), and another ' Pelles ' from 
the reign of Edward I to that of Elizabeth ; and finally that the Innovate 
Roll is also there. This, with the Lansdowne MSS. list, shews that in the 
seventeenth century the Clerk of the Pells (representing the former 
* Treasurer's clerk ') was possessed of a single series, and it is tempting to 
guess that at this time the Rolls which ultimately came to the Public Record 
Office from the ' Chapter House ' (i. e. those described by Agarde) repre- 
sented the Chamberlains' parts of what had originally been a single 
collection. That the collection was single in medieval times is almost 
certain. 8 It also seems probable that the particular Archives of the 
Treasurer's Clerk may have been separated off at the time when the 
Deputy Chamberlains were dropping out of their old connexion with 
the active work of the department, and he himself, under the title of 
Clerk of the Pells, was rising to that complete control over the functions 
represented by the Receipt and Issue Rolls which he enjoyed in the post- 
medieval period. That such separation, if or when it occurred, was not 
too carefully performed would seem to be indicated by the fact that Devon 
found among his Archives a Norman Pipe Roll ; which might properly belong 
to the Archives of the Treasury of the Receipt but had certainly nothing 
to do with the Clerk of the Pells. It is curious that, though the Pells Office 
contained rolls of Henry Ill's reign, one of them, that for the ninth year, 
remained at the Treasury of the Receipt where Madox saw it. 4 Another 
curious point is that the Lansdowne MSS. List of the Pells Office Rolls 

1 Exchequer of Receipt, Miscellaneous Papers, and Lansdowne MSS. already 
quoted (above, paragraph (i) ). The dispute was apparently settled in 1583 by Lord 
Burleigh in favour of the Clerk of the Pells, in a privy seal warrant which is quoted 
by Black (D. K.'s Reports, iv, ii, p. 179) from one of several copies (another is among 
the Caesar MSS.) ; but it seems to have been raised again by Skinner about 1606 
(Lansdowne MSS. 171, ff. 103, 353, and 358). 

2 Palgrave, vol. ii, pp. 311 et seq. 

3 Among the evidences for this is the statement in a contemporary hand outside 
an Issue Roll of the reign of Edward I (No. 170), that with it are included two Receipt 
Rolls and an Innovate Roll. Needless to say they were not there when the roll came 
to be dealt with finally. 

4 See the Introduction to Devon's edition of the Brantingham Issue Roll and 
Devon's Report on the Pells Office (D. K.'s Reports, loc. cit.). 


and Agarde in his reference to that collection both date the rolls only 
so far back as to the reign of Edward I. 

But however we may account for the Westminster and the Whitehall 
Collections there still remains the problem of the Rolls that came from 
' the vault '. Is it possible that the Auditor, at the time when he disputed 
precedence with the Clerk of the Pells, also formed for himself, perhaps 
by drawing on the Treasury of the Receipt as the Clerk of the Pells had done, 
a collection of medieval Archives ? and that when between 1800 and 1833, 
as Black argues, 1 some of his legitimate Archives — Patent Books and so 
forth — somehow got removed to ' the vault ' these more ancient rolls went 
with them ? It is again a tempting conjecture, but one which the absence 
of any lists of the rolls which came from that and other sources makes it 
impossible to prove or disprove : and so we must leave it. 

(r) The Excusable and the Inexcusable. We have said enough to indicate 
that the confusion in which the Receipt Archives came to the hands of 
those who made the 1859 List must be attributed largely to neglect and 
maladministration by many hands spread over a considerable time — 
nearly two centuries at least. The same may probably be said of their 
mutilation 2 and loss 3 and of the dispersal of small quantities which we 
have already noticed as scattered among other Archives. 4 On the other 
hand, the fact that a Class is in a state of confusion forms no real excuse 
for leaving it in that, or a worse, condition. 

But the real accusation in connexion with the Receipt and Issue Rolls 
is furnished by the Pells and Auditors arrangement. That there was some 
superficial reason for this in a consideration both of the places from which 

1 D. K,'s Reports, II, i, p. 39. Black, who suggests that these archives may have 
been removed from ' the houses in Palace Yard anciently called Heaven, Hell and 
Purgatory ' (an eloquent description), deals in detail with the later Books, but 
studiously avoids any attempt to theorize on the subject of the Rolls. Possibly had 
he himself had the carrying out of the recommendations he made in this Report things 
might have been very different. 

2 Many of the rolls have had large pieces of blank parchment abstracted from 
them : possibly they served as a handy source of supply in the eighteenth century 
for (e. g.) Tellers' Bills. But the nineteenth century, when the Record Commission 
was sitting charged with the duty of bettering the conditions of Archives, must bear 
responsibility for the move to Somerset House which in a few years, thanks to the 
wetness of the vault, reduced some of our rolls to a state of nearly solid blocks. 

3 It is very difficult to say when loss occurred and whether it was by theft or 
otherwise. Documents from the Receipt have from time to time turned up in private 
hands — for example, a number of Tellers' Bills figured in the Phillips sale — but 
never, I believe, any rolls. The Tellers' Bills may have been part of the ' Waste Paper ' 
sold out of the vault under order of the Controller General. On the subject of the 
loss in this and other ways of Public Records see The Report . . . of the Select Com- 
mittee oj the House of Lords appointed to inquire into the Destruction and Sale of Exchequer 
Records (Sessional Papers, 1840, 298) and the evidence of Sir Thomas Hardy before a 
Committee of the House of Lords on the Record Office Bill in 1877. 

4 e. g. those of the Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer and the King's Remembrancer. 
Madox saw the Henry II writ of Liberate at the Tower of London ! 


the Archives were received and of the division of the later Archives of the 
same Department is quite true ; and it is true that to arrive at the real 
nature of these Rolls involved research in somewhat out-of-the-way places, 
and a lengthy consideration of the rolls themselves. But those who thrust 
the Auditors and Pells arrangement on the Receipt Rolls did more than accept 
and act upon conclusions hastily formed and intrinsically absurd. By 
destruction of lists and references they obliterated almost all traces of what 
their predecessors had done and of the provenance of their Archives, making 
it impossible ever to re-establish with certainty the original state of the 
documents. In doing this they committed the worst, because the most 
elementary, crime of which an Archivist can be guilty. 

(ii) Chart to illustrate Development of Records of Issue in the 
Exchequer of Receipt : with some Notes on the * Main Record ' 
Theory of Arrangement. 

We have to illustrate here the difficulty of arranging in a satisfactory 
manner the Archives of an Administration which during a considerable 
part of its career was in a fluid state ; taking a concrete example once more 
from the Exchequer of Receipt, and using only the series and documents 
relating to Issue. To make the example clearer we have tabulated them 
(see Chart on p. 241), a system deservedly condemned * but occasionally 

It will be seen that most periods are covered by more than one continuous 
series among these Archives ; though few of them last very long, and at the 
beginning, and again in the middle, we have to depend on nothing but 
original Writs or Warrants for Issue. We have seen something of the 
meaning of all these classes in the previous Appendix. 2 

It is interesting to see how impossible it would be to reduce this body 
of documents into order by means of the ' Main Record ' formula. At the 
beginning we might presumably attach that description to the very early 
existing class of original writs of Liberate, and even when a Liberate Roll 
is instituted it is for some time distinctly subordinate to the originals, just 
as the early Receipt Roll was subordinate to the original Tallies. However, 
the position will presumably be transferred presently to the General 
Liberate Roll Class : or will it go to that very regular little set of Brevia 
Persoluta ? in any case at what point are we to transfer it to the Issue Roll, 
which is certainly a more developed form, and the one which ultimately 
survives, of final record ? we are presumably to take the single-columned 
Issue Roll as the main series for a time ; the double-columned one being 
distinctly a rough draft in origin, which only takes first place gradually 
(another problem, to decide the point at which it becomes the main series) . 

We shall not be comfortably settled until we arrive at the final form 
of the Issue Roll (its third form). Meanwhile we have had to face the 
question raised by the triplication of the series, deciding presumably to 
treat all three as parallel Main Series ; though there is something to be 

1 Cp. Muller, Feith, and Fruin, § 40. 

2 Above, Appendix V (i). 


said for making the two Chamberlains' Rolls subsidiary to the Treasurer's, 
which is the only one to survive eventually. Another little difficulty arises 
with the Protecolla, but we will disregard that. 

Now we come to the period when the Issue Roll was more or less 
deliberately dropped. 1 Here we should naturally expect to go back to 
the original writs as our main, indeed our only, authority : there is 
considerable ground, however, for saying that the Issue Roll was dropped 
because it was so often repeated by the assignment or pro column on the 
right of the Receipt Roll ; and we should certainly have to investigate the 
claims of that series to be considered the chief Record of Issue ! Towards 
the end of this period, too, a number of new book-forms of Archives were 
coming in — several of them start, it may be noticed, before 1597, when 
the Issue Roll was finally recommenced by the triumphant Clerk of the 
Pells. However, from that date onwards there is no question what is 
the received chief archive of the department, for the Issue Book is definitely 
considered by the Officials themselves as a draft for the Issue Roll and all 
others are unquestioned subsidiaries : we have no further trouble except 
the introduction of a new series, not a parallel one this time, but a split-off 
portion of the main one, in the shape of the Annuities Issue Rolls in the time 
of William III. 

In the Chart attached special attention is called to the five triplicate 
series — Brevia Persoluta ; Issue Rolls (Single-columned) ; Issue Rolls (Double- 
columned) ; Issue Rolls (Final Form) ; and Receipt Rolls (with Assignments). 
The two groups of lines headed Various Registers consist of distinct varieties 
which are represented together in the chart only for the sake of convenience. 

1 There seems no doubt that the Auditor's side in the official quarrel whose papers 
we have quoted so often was right in maintaining that Henry VII deliberately 
depended for safety of Record upon the Receipt Roll, taking the system of issue by 
writ as sufficiently protected : compare the statement of this point in both the 
Exchequer of Receipt papers and Skinner's papers among the Lansdowne MSS., already 
quoted. But the dropping took place before Henry VII 's time. 


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Note. — The names of Classes of Archives cited in illustration in the book are here 
distinguished by being set in Italic type. 

Similarly the names of Authors cited have an asterisk •% prefixed to them in the 
Index so that the Student who desires may easily pick them out. 

Accession of Documents in Modern Office, 

Registration of, 173. 
Accession Number, Use of, 86. 
Accession Register, 89, 133. 
Account Books (Exch. of Receipt), 230. 
Accounting, Italian methods of, 78. 
Accounts as form of Archives, 169, 178, 

184, 185. 
Accounts, Declared, 236 n. 
— , Original, 37 n, 85, 228 n. 
Acts {Colonial Office), 5. 
Adhesives, Use of in Repair, 68, 69 n, 70. 
— , Distribution of duties in and connexion 

with Archives, 29. 
— , Ecclesiastical, in England, 197. 
— , English, History and development of : 

see App. I and V. 
— , — , — , Works on, 201, 202. 
— , Local, in England : general note on, 

195, 196. 
— , Public (Central), in England, 193. 
Administrator as Compiler of Archives, 87. 
— , Relations of, with Archivist, 123. 
Admiralty Logs, 62. 
Admiralty, Work on Naval History issued 

by, 20. 
Admiralty Records, 3, 20, 91 n. 
Africa, South, Archives in, 82. 
African Company, Archives of, 26, 37, 113. 
African Goat Skin, as material for Binding, 


^-Agarde, Arthur, Deputy Chamberlain of 

the Receipt, Compendium of Archives 

of Treasury of Receipt by, 98, 236. 

Agarde, Arthur, on dangers to Records, 45. 

— , — , Original note on a document by, 

63 n. 
Air, Defence against attacks from, 45, 46. 
— , Disturbance of, as protection against 

Mildew, 47, 51, 52, 223, 224. 
America, Map of, 6, 96. 
— , United States, Archive Work in, v, vii. 
— , — , National Archives at Washington, 

vii, 21, 165 n. 

America, United States, Research on Paper 

in, 158 n. 
— , — , Scheme for Archive Manual 

published in, 19 n. 
-jr America, Library of Congress, Pamphlet 

on Care, Cataloguing, and Arrangement 

of Documents published by, id n, 92 n. 
Ammonium Sulphide, as Reagent, Use of , 8 1 . 
Ancient Inventories : see under Palgrave, 

Sir Francis. 
'Ancient Miscellanea,' 27, 28, 112. 
-jAr Anglo-American Committee, Reports on 

Editing, 125-131. 
Aniline Dyes in Modern Documents, 157. 
'Annexed ' Documents : see under Docu- 
Annexures to Documents, Limitations of, 

6,7 : 
'Anobium ' Beetle, Danger to Documents 

from, 220, 221. 
"3^- Antiquaries, Society of, Archaeologia, 
Articles on Tallies in, 12 n, 226 n, 
228 n. 
— , — , Proceedings, Article on Tallies in, 

12 n, 13 n, 37 n, 228 n. 
•jrArchivalische Zeitschrift, vi. 
Archive Education, in England, viii, ix. 
— , in foreign countries, vii. 
Archive Groups : see under Arrangement. 
Archive History, Specimen example of 

(Exchequer of Receipt), App. V. 
Archive Maker, Qualities desirable in, 152. 
Archive Making, 201, 202. 
— , Golden Rule of, 152, 153. 
— , Suggested Limitation of, 189. 
— : see also under Registry. 
Archive Method, Proposed Standardization 

tion of, 17. 
Archive Policy, 16. 
Archive Quality, xi, 11-13, 39, 156. 
Archive Science, Bibliography of, App. II. 
'Archives, Depot d' ' : see ' Depot.' 
' — , Fonds d' ' : see ' Fonds.' 
Archives, Administration of, and Branches 

of Work on : see Table of Contents and 

Text, passim. 



Archives, Ancient and Modern, 30. 

— , Public and Private, Common 
Qualities of, 30. 

Archive Groups (Fonds) in, ioi-iii, 

— , Definition of, 101. 

— , Divisions of, ill. 

— , Filling up of gaps in, 118. 

— , Transference between, 114. 

Arrangement of : see under Arrange- 

Central and Local, Relation of : see 
under Public Record Office. 

Circumstances of writing of, 4. 

cited in Illustration in this work : see 
App. I : see also Note prefixed to this 

Classes of, Variations in careers of, 28. 

Compilations from, 20. 

contrasted with Current Office Files, 8. 

contrasted with Documents in Mu- 
seums, 7. 

Copies from, Authentication of, 167. 

Dating of, 5, 8. 

Definition and Description of, 2-1 1. 

Dependence of History on, 1. 

Differentiation of Classes of, 25-32. 

— , Order of, 31. 

Distinction of, from other Documents, 


Diversion of, from original purpose, 37. 

Divisions of, Primary, 23, 138. 

Effect of modern conditions on quality 
of, 154, 155. 

Elucidation and Interpretation of, 204, 

Enemies of, xi : see also App. IV. 

English, Classification of, App. I. 

— , contrasted with Continental, 16, 
18, 43- 

— , General Archive Problems illus- 
trated from, 15-19. 

— , Homogeneity in description of, 

119, 129, 130. 

— , Particular qualities of, 16. 

— , Publication of, by various Authori- 
ties, 9, 199, 202, 203 n. 

-, Varieties and Development of : see 
App. I and V. 

Evolution of, 23-32, 156. 

Forgeries of, 13-15. 

— , and Historical Criticism, 13. 

— , Private, in Public Archives, 10, 11. 

— , Shakespearean, Alleged, 10. 

Future, Formation of, 22, and Part IV 

General view of process of formation of, 
in English Chancery, 27. 
Guides to, 200, 201. 

Increase in bulk of, 151. 

Archives, Laws concerning : see under Eng- 
land ; France ; Germany ; Italy ; Russia. 
— , Materials used for, Control of, 160, 161, 

171, 172. 
— , Historical Criticism of, 11-15. 
— , Modern, Methods and Rules of Making : 

see Part IV passim. 
— , Mutilation of, 238 n. 
'Archives Nationales': see under France. 
Archives, Official Character of, 4. 
— , other than English, 1 92 : see also under 

America; Belgium; Channel Islands; 

Denmark ; Esthonia ; Finland ; France ; 

Germany ; Ireland ; Italy ; Norway ; 

Poland ; Russia ; Schleswig-Holstein ; 

Scotland ; Sweden ; Wales. 
— , Point at which documents become, 8. 
— , Printed, 199, 202, 203. 
— , Private, in England, 193, 196, 197. 
— , Probation period proposed for, 182, 

— , Production of, to Students, 51, 52, 56, 

58, 59, 64, 65, 134, 154, 155. 
— , Public, in private hands, 9, 10. 
— , — , Species of, 7, 8. 
— , Reception of, by Archivist, 85. 
— , Rules for keeping, Proposal to standard- 
ize, 17. 
— , ' Strays ' from Custody, Examples of, 

186 n. 
— , Terminology to be used in description 

of, 79, 119, 126, 129, 130. 
— , Theft, Preventive measures against, 63, 

— , Territorial distribution of, 103 n. 
— , Transmission of, 32-38. 
— , — , Work of former archivists, 32. 
— , War, 22. 
— , Work on, in the past, 1, 32, 33, 63 n, 

109, in, 236: see also App. V passim. 
Archives : see also Arrangement ; Docu- 
ments ; Manorial Archives ; Maps ; 

Memoirs ; Museums ; Newspapers ; 

Parliament, Speeches in ; Records ; 

-fcArchivi d* Italia, vi. 
Archivist, Definition of, 38-41. 
— , Duties of : see Part II passim. 
— , his Connexion with modern and future 

Archives, 128, 161. 
— , Notes by, 37, 62 n, 63 n, 78, 88 n, 95-97, 

190 n, 217,218: see also Agarde, Arthur. 
— , Reference Books for, 48 n, 198 ; see 

also App. II. 
— , Registers to be kept by, xi, 133-135. 
— , Relations with Depositing Offices, 189, 

— , Relations with Editor, 127. 
— , Relations with Historian, 123, 124. 
— , Working Registers of, 133-135. 



Archivists, Effect of early work of, on 
Archives, 32, 33, 109, 236 : see also App. 

V passim. 

Arrangement of Archives, 97-114. 
— , according to Administrative functions, 

Chief principle of, 97. 

Chronological order in, 97. 

Class Headings in, 109. 

Continental theories of, 104. 

Dating in, 1 12. 


Evolution of Archives to be considered 
n, 107. 

Form of document not to govern, 97. 

Headings for, 116. 

1 Lignes capitales ' and ' Lignes prin- 
cipals ' in, 105, 106. 

1 Main Record ' and ' Main Series ' in, 
[06-109, App. V (ii). 

' Methodizers' ' work in, 109, 236. 

' Miscellanea ' in, m-113. 

Misplaced documents in, 113. 

and Modern Administrative Methods, 

Old and new series in, 111. 

1 Ordre primitif ' to be maintained in, 
r n, 104. 

Original Series in, 106, 107. 

'Pieces isolees ' in, 104, 107. 

Procedure to be adopted for, 98. 

Slip-making in, 99, 117. 

Subject order not to be used for, 98. 

Subordinate Classes and Series in, 104, 

1 Vertical Divisions ' in, 100. 

Wrong Methods exemplified : see App. 

V (i) passim. 

— : see also under Calendars; Indexes; 

Inventories; Lists; Summary Inventory; 

-^Arts, Society of, Leather for Book- 
binding, 76 n. 
Assignment Books (Exch. of Receipt), 230. 
Assize Rolls, 29 n. 
Auditor of the Receipt : see under Receipt, 

Exchequer of. 
'Auditor's ' Records : see under Receipt, 

Exchequer of. 
Authentication : see under Registry. 
Authenticity, as a quality of Archives, 12. 
^Ayloffe, Sir Joseph, Carte Antique, 90. 


Backing and Filling, as method of Repair, 

72, 73- 
Bacterial Action, Damage to Documents 

from, 221, 222. 
•jr Bain, J., Calendar of Documents relating 
to Scotland, 84. 

-^•Ballard, A., An Eleventh Century In- 
quisition, 15 n. 

Belgium, Purchase of Documents for 
Archives in, 43. 

— , Reports on Archives in, 9. 

Bell, William, Note by, 37. 

Bennet, Mr. Justice, on Documentary 
Form, 165 n. 

Bevan, E. J. : see Cross and Bevan. 

Binding and Casing, Comparison of, 126 n. 

Bindings (of Books), Importance of, in 
criticism of MSS., 88, 90. 

— : see also under Bookbinding ; Docu- 

-fcBird, S. R. Scargill, Guide to the Public 

Records, 201 n. 
Birkenhead's Act, Lord; Effect of on 

Archives, x. 
Birmingham, Free Library at, 41. 
Bishops' Certificates (Exch., First Fruits), 

6 n, 33 n, 103. 

— (Queen Anne's Bounty), 103. 
Bishops' Registers, 31, 90, 217. 
^Black, W. H., Work on the Exchequer 

of Receipt by, 233, 237 n, 238 n. 
de Bohun : see Hereford, Earls of. 
Bombs, Defence against, 45 n, 49. 
— , Variety and Size of, 45 n. 
Book-binding, Boards for, 77. 
— , History of, 77, 78, 126 n. 
Materials for, 76-78. 
Sewing in, 75. 
— , Evidence from, 78. 
Varieties of, 58, 59, 61, 62, 75-78, 126 n. 
— , Flexible, 76, 216, 217. 
— , Half-binding, 216. 
— , Ledger, 78. 
— , Oriental, 217. 
— , Quarter-binding, 76. 
— , Vellum, 76. 

— , Whole-binding, in cloth, 76. 
— , — , in leather, 76, 77, 216, 217. 
Repair of, 215-218. 
— , Examples of, 217, 218. 
— , Specifications for, 215-217. 
— : see also under Cockerell, Douglas ; 

Documents ; Repairing. 
^-Bordier, L., Les Archives de la France, 8 n. 
1 Borkhausenia ' (House-moth) Larvae, 

Danger to Documents from, 220, 221. 
Boxes, Use of, for packing Archives, 52-54, 

— , Leather board, 53, 54. 
— , — , Specifications for, 208, 209. 
"^British Archaeological Journal, Article on 

Seals in, 126 n. 
British Museum, Public Archives in, 10, 

186 n. 
-^British Museum (Natural History), 
Economic Series, 220 n. 



British Records Association, Exhibitions by, 
of Record Publications, viii n. 

— , Foundation of, x. 

-^-British Records Association, Proceedings, 
67, 129 n. 

— , Classification of English Archives, 192. 

— , Report on Ecclesiastical Archives, 197. 

— , Year's Work in Archives, vi, vii. 

Bromley [William, Sec. of State], his Care 
of State Papers, 186 n. 

-jfc-Brown, J. D., Library Economy, 198. 

^Bruxelles, L 'organisation des Archives de 
la ville de, 164. 

Buckingham [Henry Stafford], Duke of, 34. 

Buckland, C. S. B., Note by, 186 n. 

Buckram, Linen, Use of, in make-up of 
Documents, 55, 76, 212, 213, 216. 

Bulk, Problem of, in Modern Archives, 21, 

5?, 59- 
Business, Effect of new methods of, on 

Archives, 166-169. 
— , Mixed Archives of (File System), 169. 

Caesar, Sir Julius, Papers of, 237. 

Calendars, Rules for making, 19, 130, 131. 

Calico, Unbleached, Use of, in make-up of 
Documents, 211, 212. 

^-Cambridge Histories (Series), 198. 

Cancer, Powder for Curing : see under 

Carbon Ink : see under Ink. 

Card Indexes, Appearance of, in Archives, 

Carlton Ride (London), Record Repository 

< at, 139. 

Cartularies, 36, 37, 120 n, 130. 

■^-Casanova, E., Archivistica, 3 n, 198. 

Cash Books (Exch. of Receipt), 230. 

Casing, distinguished from Binding, 75, 
126 n. 

Casts and Moulds : see under Seals. 

Cause Books, 122 n. 

Cecil MSS., 37. 

Cely [George], Letter of, 84. 

Cely Papers, 84, 85. 

— : see also Maiden, H. E. 

Certificate Books (Exch. of Receipt), 230. 

Ceylon, Archives in, 82. 

Chamberlains : see under Receipt, Ex- 
chequer of. 

Chancellor's Roll, 142 n. 

Chancery, English, Earliest archives of, 24. 

— , — , Procedure of, in fourteenth century, 

io 5- 
Chancery Enrolments, viii : see also under 

Charter ; Close ; Liberate ; Patent. 

Chancery Proceedings, 60 n. 

Channel Islands, Archives of, 192. 

Chapter Archives, 234 n. 

Charter Rolls, 10, 29, 105, 106. 
Charters, Royal, Forgeries of, 10. 
Chatham MSS., 43. 
Cheirographer, Office of, in Court of 

Common Pleas, 35. 
Chemist, Help of, in solution of Archive 

problems, 62. 
Chertsey Abbey, Cartulary of, 36. 
Chester, Records of Palatinate, 33 n. 
Chichester, Episcopal Register of, 217. 
Chitty, H., Note by, 63. 
Chronology, Works on, 204. 
Cinematograph Film, Preservation of, in 

Archives, 164, 165. 
— , Use of, in photographing documents, 

6 3- 

Class Headings : see under Arrangement. 

Classification of Archives, App. I. 

Cleaning : see under Repositories. 

Cleaning Materials, Use of, in Repair, 74. 

Climate, Effect of, on Archives, 82, 159. 

Close Roll, 27, 29, 31. 

^Cockerell, Douglas, Bookbinding, 70 n, 

-^-Cokayne, G. E., Complete Peerage, 34 n. 

Colonial Records, 61 n. 

Command Papers (War Office), 150. 

' Commissions,' Archives of, 102. 

-jlf Commons, House of, Reports of Special 
Committees of, 201 n, 232, 235 n. 

— , — , Journals, &c, of, 201 n. 

Commonwealth Exchequer Papers, 54 n. 

Communiques, Official, Contrasted with 
Archives, 4. 

Composite Classes in Archives artificially 
formed, Criticism of, 143. 

Confidential Documents, Treatment of, in 
Archives, 154. 

^-Congress, Library of (U.S.A.), Work on 
Care, Cataloguing, and Arranging of 
MSS. published by, 16 n, 75 n. 

Controller General of Exchequer, Records of, 
103, 233. 

Conversations, Representation of, in Arch- 
ives, 166. 

Conveyancing Act, 39 n. 

Copies : see under Archives. 

Copying of Documents : see under Re- 

Copyright Records, 35. 

Coram Rege Rolls, 63. 

Corporations, Archives of, in England, 196. 

Corrections, added to Documents, 83. 

Correspondence, Ancient, 84 n, 85. 

Correspondence, Private, in Archives, 168 

Corrosive Sublimate, Use of, for protection 
of Documents, 219 n. 

Cottonian Library, Report to House of 
Commons on, 232. 

County Council Archives, 34 n, 87. 



Courier, Paul-Louis, and MS. of Daphnis 

and Chloe, 62. 
Court Rolls, Manorial, 34. 
' Courts ' forming Archive Groups in 

England : see App. I. 
Crawford, Earl of, MSS. of, 5 n. 
Cromwell, Family of, 36. 
"jfc-Cross C. F., and Bevan, E. J., Paper- 
making, 159. 
Crump, C. G., Note by, 105. 
-^Crump, C. G., Hughes, A., and Johnson, 
C. (ed.), Dialogus de Saccario, 24, 142 n, 
226 n. 
Cunningham, Peter, Alleged forgeries by, 

10, 13. 
Curia Regis Rolls, 33. 
Custodian, for Archives, Definition of a 

responsible, 37. 
— , Public Librarian as, 38. 
Custody, Documents out of, 120. 
— , Theory of, 9-1 1. 
— , and its effect on Archives, 32-38. 
— , at different stages of transmission of 

Archives, 37. 
-^-Cuvelier, Joseph, Director of Belgian 

Archives, 9 n. 
— , — , on the grouping of Archives, 

no n. 
— , — , Rdle des Archives, 3 n. 
Cylinders, Cardboard, used in packing 

documents, 53-55. 


Dacre, Baronies of, Possible Forgery in 
connexion with, 11 «. 

Dating : see under Archives ; Registry. 

Declared Accounts, 236. 

Decrees and Orders (Chancery), 27 n. 

Deeds, Listing of, 129. 

— , Special Packing for, 56, 57, 93. 

Deeds, Ancient, 55, 56, 85. 

Denmark, Arrangement concerning Ar- 
chives in, vi. 

— , Study of Archive Science in, vii. 

■^Department of Scientific and Industrial 
Research, Bulletin and Leaflets, 220 n. 

Departmental Records, in England, 194. 

— , Status of, 150 n. 

Deposited Documents, Place of, in Arch- 
ives, 120. 

Depositions, Chancery, 27 n. 

' Depot d'Archives,' Definition of, 104. 

Descriptive List, Definition of, 126. 

— , Use of, 128-130. 

Destruction of Archives, Ancient and 
Modern, 138-152, 172, 184. 

— , Arrangements for, in England in nine- 
teenth century, 139. 

— , Committee of House of Lords on 
(1877), 142. 

Destruction of Archives, Committee of Ho use 
of Lords on (1877), see also Hardy, Sir 
Thomas ; Jessel, Sir George. 

— , Criteria of Safety in, 140, 147. 

— , Duplicates proposed as suitable for, 141, 

— , Grounds for, 118, 139. 
— , Historian as selector for, 146. 
— , — , Objections to, 149. 
— , Reasons and justification for, 139. 
— , Regulations for, in various countries, 

— , Responsibility for, 145. 

— , Selection for, Methods generally used 
in, 138. 

— , Selection of individual specimens for 
preservation criticized, 143. 

— , Selectors for, 138, 146, 148, 150. 

— , Statutory rules for, in England, 137. 

— , Tallies as an example of unjustifiable, 139. 

— , ' Valueless ' Documents, proposed as 
suitable for, 144. 

Destruction of Archives, Modern, Adminis- 
trative Official as Selector, 148, 150. 

— , — , Apparent necessity for, 136. 

— , — , Cases for delayed action, 180. 

— , — , Cases reserved for later examina- 
tion, 180. 

— , — , Documents which may be destroyed 
immediately, 179. 

— , — , in English Public Departments, 
Permissive Schedules for, 148 n. 

— , — , Present provision for, 127, 147. 

— , — , Suggested routine of, 180-182. 

— , — , Suggested time limits for, 183. 

— , — , of unregistered documents in 
Modern Office, 184. 

— , — : see also under Registry. 

^Devon, F., Issue Roll of Thomas de 
Brantingham, 227 n, 236 n, 237 n. 

Devon, F., Work of, 227 n, 232 n, 233, 235 n y 
236, 237 n. 

Dictated letters, Copies of, Value as 
Archives, 166, 167. 

Differentiation : see under Archives. 

Diplomatic, Works on, 204. 

Documents, ' Annexed,' Special treat- 
ment of, 7, 185. 

— , Bindings of, Original, 87, 88. 

— , — , after writing, 90 n. 

— , — : see also under Book-binding. 

— , Cancer powder as part of, 6. 

— , Coin as part of, 6. 

— , Confidential, Treatment of, 185, 186. 

— , contrasted with Archives, 5, 183, 184. 

— , Corrections added to, 83. 

— , Current use of, in modern office, 183. 

— , Damage to, from unsuitable make-up* 

— , Definition of, 5-7. 



Documents, Description of, 118, 174. 

— , Distribution of, in Modern Office : 

see under Registry. 
— , Editing, Transcribing, and Printing 
of, Rules for, 125-132 ; see also under 
Calendars ; Editing ; Printing ; Tran- 

Enclosures in, 6, 89, 90. 

Engraving used in, 6. 

Exhibits contrasted with, 5. 

fastened together, 67. 

Fragile, Special care for, 82. 

Folds in, 52, 54, 56. 

Guarding of, 59, 214, 215 n. 

Human hair as part of, 6. 

Insertions made in, 89, 90. 

Labelling of, 53, 60, 66, 75 w, 94 n. 

Make-up for, 51-62, 126, 163. 
— : see also under Deeds; Loose 
Documents; Maps; Outsize Documents; 
Rolls ; and below Packing; Receptacles. 

Methods of Make-up for : Binding, 
58, 59, 61, 62, 75-78 ; see also App. III. 
— : Boxes, &c. : see below under 

— : Filing, 58, 59, 67 n ; see also App. 

— : Parcelling, 60. 

Maps as part of, 6. 
Materials of ; Cardboard, Leather, 
Paper, Parchment, Vellum, Wood, 
Woven materials, 6. 

Misplacing of, 65. 

New Forms of, 165. 

Notes made by Archivist on : see under 

Numbering of, 89, 91-97, 11 5-1 17. 

— , Old and new, 85, 86. 

— , Original to be distinguished, 89. 

— , Rules for, 115-117. 

Objects annexed to, 7. 

Over-production of, 170. 

Packing Number of, 93-95. 

Pencil marks on, 96. 

Photographic processes used in modern, 

Pictures as part of, 6. 

Printing used in, 5. 

Printing of : see above Editing. 

Production of, to Students, 51, 52, 56, 
58, 59, 64, 65, 134. 

Receptacles for : Boxes, 52-60, 62 ; 
see also App. III. 

— : Envelopes, 56. 

— : Folders, 55, 59, 60 ; see also App. 

— : Portfolios, 55, 60 ; see also App. 

— : Trays, 57 ; see also App. III. 
References of, 94, 95. 

Documents, References of : see also under 

Key Lists ; References. 
— , Removal of, from true position, 54. 
— , Repair of, 67-80 : see also under 

— , Schedules added to, 89, 90. 
— , Sewing of, 68, 88. 
— , — , Original, 88 n. 

— , Specially valuable, Preservation of, 82. 
— , Stamping, Rules for, 88, 89. 
— , Standardization of Descriptions of, 

suggested, 119. 
— , Transcribing of : see above Editing. 
— , Whip-cord as part of, 6. 

— : see also Archives ; Destruction. 
Domesday Chest, 24 n. 

'Domus Conversorum,' 29. 

-^-Doubleday, H. A., editor of Complete 

Peerage, 11 n. 
Dover, Court Book of Borough of, 61. 
-^■Dugdale, Sir William, Baronage, 34 n. 
Duplicates, Meaning of term in relation to 
Archives, 144. 

— : see also under Destruction. 

Easter, High [co. Essex], Manor of, 34. 

Ecclesiastical Administration : see under 

Edging, as method of Repair, 72, 73. 

Editing, Principles of, 125. 

— , — , compared with rules for tran- 
scribing, 126. 

— , Reports on, 125-13 1. 

Edward I, Documents taken from Scotland 
by, 104. 

Ehrlich, Professor L., Note by, 63. 

Enclosures, Accidental, in Archives, Im- 
portance of, 142. 

— : see also under Documents. 

England, Administration and Archives in : 
see Part I passim and App. I. 

— , Archive studies in, v, vii-xi. 

— , Archive theory in, 191, 192. 

— , Classification of Archives in, 191-197. 

— , — , Artificial Collections, 193. 

— , — , Ecclesiastical, 191, 193, 197. 

— , — , Private, 191, 193, 196, 197. 

— , — , Public Central, 191-195. 

— , — , Public Local, 191, 192, 195, 196. 

— , — , Semi-Public, 193, 196. 

— , Laws concerning Archives in, x. 

— , Local Repositories in, viii, ix. 

— , Number of authorities controlling 
Archives in , 18 n. 

— , Public and Private Archives in, used 
in Illustration, 16 : see also Ap p. I and 
V passim, 

— , Repositories in : see under Repositories. 

— , Training of Archivists in, viii, ix. 



England, Work of early Archivists in, 25, 32. 

— , Work on Local Records in, viii-x. 

English Archives : see under Archives. 

-^English Historical Review : see articles 
under names of Putnam, B. H. ; 
Richardson, H. G. ; Salzmann, L. F. ; 
Steel, A. B. 

Engravings : see under Documents. 

Enrolment, contrasted with Records ' en- 
tered,' 231. 

— , in Family Bible, 8. 

Envelopes : see under Documents, Recep- 
tacles for. 

Esthonia, Archive Work in, vii. 

Europe, Development of Archive Work in, 

Evacuation of Archives, Schemes for, 46, 47. 

Exchequer, King's Remembrancer, Records 
of, 117. 

— , — , Original Accounts of, 117. 

Exchequer of Receipt : see Receipt, Excheqer 

Exhibits, contrasted with Documents, 5. 

Expired Commissions, 26, 37, 113. 

Extincteurs, Danger from, 45 n. 

— , Types of, 45 n. 

Evolution of Archives : see under Archives. 

Family Archives, 196 : see also under 
Private Muniments. 

^Fanshawe, Sir Thomas, King's Remem- 
brancer, Practice of the Exchequer 
Court, 193 n, 210, 212. 

^Feith : see Muller, Feith, and Fruin. 

Files, earliest form of Archives, 23. 

— (or Jackets), in Modern Office, Object 
of, 153, 169. 

— , Original to be retained, 87, 88. 

— : see also under Documents. 
Filing, Modern Methods of, 60 n. 

— , as method of make-up for Documents, 

58, 59, 67 n. 
Filing-Boards, Specification for, 214, 215. 
Filing-Press, Specification for, 213. 
Fines, Feet of, 35, 96, 140. 
— , Notes of, 96. 
Finland, Archive Work in, vii. 
Fire, Great : see under London. 
Fire, Precautions against, 45, 46. 
•jr Fisher, H. A. L., Biographical Sketch of 

F. W. Maitland, 2 n. 
^Fitz Niel, Richard, Dialogus de Scaccario 

by, 24, 121 n, 226 n. 
Fitz Peter, Geoffrey, 34. 
Fixative, Shellac used as, 72 n, 163. 
— , Size used as, 163. 

Flexible style in Binding, 76, 77, 216, 217. 
Folders, Use of, in make-up of Documents, 
55, 59, 60. 

Folders, Specifications for, 210-213. 
Folding, Danger from, 52, 54, 56. 
Foliation of Documents, 92, 93, 94 n. 

— : see also under Documents, Numbering 

'Fonds,' 'Autonomous,' 100, 101. 

— , Definition of as 'Archive Group,' 100. 

— , Most important Archive Principle 

based on arrangement by, 101. 
— , Significance of the word, 18. 

— : see also under Archives. 
Foreign Office Records, 3. 

Foreign Schools, Authorities of, 19. 

Forgeries : see under Archives. 

-^C Fowler, G. H., Care of County Muni- 
ments, 17. 

Fowler, G. H., on Paste, 70 n. 

Framing, as Method of Repair, 73. 

France, Archive Laws in, vi. 

— , Archive Publication in , vii. 

— , 'Archives Nationales,' vi, 18 n, 62. 

— , — , Old Buildings adapted as Reposi- 
tories for, vi n. 

— , Notarial Archives in, vi. 

— , Old methods of arrangement and 
classification of Archives in, 18. 

French Revolution, Influences of, upon 
Archives, 18. 

^Fruin, R. : see Muller, Feith, and Fruin. 

Fungus, Danger to Documents from, 222. 

— , — , Precautions against, 223, 224. 

— , — , Research on, 222-224. 

Future, Archives of : see under Archives. 

Gall, as Reagent, Use of, 81. 
Gauze, Silk : see under Repairing. 
Germany, Archive Law in, vi. 
— , Archive Education in, vii. 
— , Archive re-organisation in, vi. 
-^-Giry, A., Manuel de Diplomatique, 198. 
•^•Giuseppi, M. S., Guide to the Public 

Record Office, ix, 191, 194. 
Gold-beater's Skin, Use of, in Repair, 69 n. 
*Gras, N. S. B., The Early English 

Customs System, 145 n. 
Great Fire : see under London. 
Grocers' Company, Wardens' Accounts of, 

61, 218. 
"^-Groom, P., and Panisset, Therese, 

Penicillium, 222 n. 
Groups, Archive : see under Arrangement. 
Guarding : see under Documents. 
Guide, General, to any Archive Collection, 

Rules for making, 125. 
— : see also under Repositories. 

Hair, Human : see under Documents. 



-jfc-Hall, Hubert, Repertory of British 

Archives, 191. 
— , — , Studies in English Official Historical 

Documents, 25 n, 30 n, 32 n. 
— , — , Editor of Receipt Roll, 226 n. 
Handling of Documents, Rules as to, 62, 63. 
^•Hardy, Sir T. D., Charters of the Duchy 

of Lancaster, 34 n. 
Hardy, Sir T. D., on Destruction of 

Archives, 142, 147 n, 148 n. 
-jfc-Haselden, R. B., Study of Manuscripts, 

81 n, 198. 
Hatfield House, MSS. at, 37. 
Heating : see under Repositories. 
' Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory ' (Record 

Repositories), 238 n. 
-fcHepworth, T. C. : see Mitchell, C. A. 
Hereford, Family of de Bohun, Earls of, 34. 
High Easter : see Easter. 
Historian, Duties of, to future Archives, 

— , — , to modern Archives, 149. 
— , as selector of Documents for Destruc- 
tion : see under Destruction. 
Historical Criticism of Archives, 11-15. 
^Historical Manuscripts Commission, Re- 
ports, viii, 168. 
History, Modern Varieties of, 1. 
Holland, Technical Research in, vii. 
Home Office Records, 3. 
Hudson's Bay Company, Archives of, 133 n. 
^•Hughes, A. : see Crump, Hughes, and 

Humidity, Effect of, on Documents, 69, 

Huntington Library, Research at, 81 ; see 

also App. IV. 
Hydrogen Peroxide, Use of, for bleaching, 

74 n. 
Hygrometer, Use of, for protection of 

Archives, 223. 


"jAfliams, T. M., on Vaporization, 221 n. 

Impartiality as a quality of Archives, 12. 

Implements : see under Repairing. 

Indexes, Definition of, 126. 

— , Duplicate entries in, Use of, 118. 

— , Modern system of, 169, 170. 

— , Object of, 153. 

— , Relation of, to Inventories, 122. 

— , Unnecessary, Danger of, 170. 

— : see also under Registry. 

Indictments, Ancient, 24. 

Infra-Red Rays, Use of, 82. 

Ink, 96. 

— , Carbon, 71. 

— , ' Chinese ' and ' Indian,' 71. 

— , Coloured, 71. 

— , Rules against use of, 62. 

Ink, Stamping, 162, 163. 

— , Treatment of in Repair, 71. 

— , Use of Reagents for restoring, 81. 

Insect Pests : see under Anobium ; Bork- 
hausenia ; Lyctus ; Xestobium. 

Insertions : see under Documents. 

Institute of Historical Research (London), 
Opening of, ix. 

-^Institute of Historical Research, Bulletin, 
viii n, 125 n. 

-^-Institut International de Cooperation 
Intellectuelle, Guide International des 
Archives, vii, 138, 186, 192, 198. 

— , Report on Paper, 158 n. 

Interview, Personal, Representation of, 
in Modern Archives, 166. 

Inventories, 114, 115, 1 17-120. 

— , Descriptions to be inserted in, 119. 

— , Double entries used in making, 118. 

— , Gaps in, to be filled, 118. 

Ireland, Archives of, 192. 

Issue Rolls, App. V, passim. 

Italian Methods of Accounting, 78. 

Italy, Archive Laws in, vi. 

— , Notarial Archives in, vi. 

— , Repositories in, vi. 

'Jacket ' : see under Files. 
Japanese paper, Use of in Repair, 69 n. 
-^Jenkinson, H., Exchequer of Pleas, 29. 
— , Financial Records of King John, 226 n. 
— , Jewish Plea Rolls, 28 n. 
— , Later Court Hands, 198. 
— , Palaeography and the Study of Court 

Hand, 1 1 n. 
— , Receipts from Jewry, 226 n. 
— , Repairing Work for Amateurs, 67. 
— , Seals, 78, 126 n. 

— , Tallies, 12 n, 13 n, 37 n, 226 n, 228 n. 
— : see also Johnson and Jenkinson. 
Jessel, Sir George, Master of the Rolls, 

on Destruction of Archives, 142. 
-^Jewish Historical Society, Transactions, 

28 n, 206 n. 
Jewish Rolls : see under Receipt, Exchequer 

"^•Johnson, Charles, Care of Documents, 16. 
— , — , and Jenkinson, H., Court Hand 

Illustrated, 35 n. 
— , — : see also Crump, Hughes, and 

Jornalia Rolls, 229, 231. 
Journals as a form of Archives, 144. 


-^■Kenyon, Sir Frederick, on British 

Museum MSS., 42. 
Key Lists for changed References, 94. 
Keys : see under Repositories. 



King's Remembrancer : see Fanshawe, Sir 

T^-Kingsford, C. L., Stonor Papers, 85 n. 

Labelling, Methods of, 53, 60, 66, 117. 

— , Varieties of, 66. 

Laboratory Tests, Limitation of Results 

from, 221. 
Lancaster, Records of Palatinate of, 34. 
— , Duchy of, Great Cowcher, 217. 
^-Langlois, Ch. V., La Science des Archives, 

2 n, 8 n. 
-^•Langlois, Ch. V., et Stein, H., Les 

Archives de Vhistoire de France, 2 n. 
Laughton, Sir John, on Insertions in 

Books, 91 n, 142. 
^Law, Ernest, Some supposed Shakespear- 
ean Forgeries, 10 n. 
Lawton, John, ' Methodizer ' of Exchequer 

Records, 236 n. 
Leather, for Binding, 76, 77. 
— , — , Durability of, 76, 77. 
— , ' Niger,' 77. 
— , Preservative for, 77. 
— , ' White-tawed,' 76 n. 
Leather board, Use of, in make-up of 

Documents, 208, 209. 
Ledger-back Binding, 76. 
Ledgers as a form of Archives, 144. 
Leeds, MSS. of Duke of, 37, 118. 
^Lelong, A., on Archives, 3 n. 
Letters, Personal : see under Confidential ; 

Liberate Rolls {Chancery), 27. 
Liberate Rolls {Exchequer), 141, 226, 227, 

229, 233. 
Liberate, Writs of, 238 n. 
Libraries, Public, suitability as Archive 

Repositories, 40. 
— : see also under America ; Birmingham. 
Library Association, Diploma of, ix. 
-^-Library Association, Durability of Paper, 

— , Year's Work, vi. 
Lifts : see under Repositories. 
Lighting : see under Repositories. 
' Lignes capitales ' : see under Arrangement. 
Linen, Un-bleached, as material for 

packing, 55, 211, 212. 
— , — , Use of, in Repair, 72 n. 
List, Class, 122. 
■ — , Definition of, 126. 
— , Descriptive, 128. 
— , Shelf, 122, 128. 
— , Use of, 128. 
Listing, Methods of, 19. 
Lists, of Archives, old and new, 85, 86. 
Local Archives, Varieties of, App. I. 
— , Report on (1903), 201 n. 

Local Authorities and Societies, Preserva- 
tion of private muniments by, viii, x n, 
21, 42 n. 

Local Repositories for Archives, viii, x, 42. 

Logs, Admiralty 91, n. 

London, Great Fire of, Effect of, on 
Archives, 96, 218 n. 

London University, School of Librarian- 
ship in, ix. 

' Long title,' Disuse of, in England, 36. 

— , — , Result of, on Family Archives, 36. 

Loose Documents, Special Packing for, 52, 
55-60, 93. 

Loose-leaf system, Use of, in Archives, 165. 

Looting of Archives in War, 104. 

-^-Lords Committees, Report of (17 19), 
201 n, 232. 

■^Lords, House of, Report of Select Com- 
mittee of, on Destruction and Sale of 
Records, 136, 142, 238 n. 

— , — , Journals and Sessional Papers of, 
186 n, 233 n. 

Losely MSS., 37 n. 

' Lyctus ' Beetle, Danger to Documents 
from, 220, 221. 

Madox, T., 238 n. 

-jArMadox, T., History of the Exchequer, 232. 
Main Record : see under Arrangement. 
-^-Maitland, F. W., Memoranda de Parlia- 
ment, 139 n. 
Make-up, Forms of : see under Documents. 
• — , Register of, 134. 
^Maiden, H. E., Cely Papers, 85 n. 
Mandeville, Geoffrey de, 34. 
Manilla, Use of, in make-up of Documents, 

Manorial Archives in England, Danger to, 

x, 36. 
— , Quantities of, 129. 

— : see also Court Rolls ; Ministers' 

Maps, in Archives, 96. 

— , Special Packing for, 54, 55. 

— : see also under America. 
-^-Marsden, R. P., on Port Books, 145 n. 
-^■Marshall, R. L., Historical Criticism of 

Documents, 13 n. 
Master of the Rolls : see Rolls, Master of 

Materials for Documents : Ink, Coloured, 

71, 162. 

— : — , Printer's, 162, 163. 

— : Paint, 71, 162. 

— : Paper, Control of use of, 160, 161. 

— : — , Furnishes for, 159. 
— : — , Grades of, 159, 160. 

— : — , for Repairing, 69, 160 n. 

— : — , Reports on, 157-160. 



Materials : Pencil, 62, 96, 163. 

■ — : Type-writing Ribbons, &c., 162, 163. 

— : see also under Book-binding ; Docu- 
ments ; Filing ; Guarding ; Make-up ; 
Parchment ; Registry ; Repairing ; 
Stamping ; Vellum. 

Medici Family, Archives of, 9. 
Meetings, Minutes of : see Minutes. 
Memoirs, Personal, Contrasted with Ar- 
chives, 4. 
Memoranda as form of Archives, 178, 184, 

Memoranda Rolls, 28, 29, 31, 107. 
Metal : see under Repositories, Shelving in. 
Method, Archive : see under Archives. 
Methodizers : see under Arrangement ; 

Lawton, John ; Morley, Richard. 
Mice, Danger to Documents from, 219 n. 
Microscope, Use of, 82. 
Mildew, Danger to documents from, 222. 
— , Precautions against, 223, 224. 
— , Research on, 222-224. 
-•fc-Mills, Miss M. H., on Exchequer, 224. 
Ministers' Accounts, 34. 
Minutes as form of Archives, 166, 169, 177, 

178, 184, 185. 
Miscellanea, Methods of dealing with, 101. 
Miscellanea (Audit Office), 10. 

— (Chancery), 26-28, 33, 84 n. 

— (Exch. of Receipt), 229, 230. 
Miscellaneous Books (Exch., Augm.), 36, 37. 

— (Exch. K. R.), 37 n. 
Misplacing : see under Documents. 
Missing Documents, Register of, 133, 134. 
-^Mitchell, C. A., and Hepworth, T. C, 

Inks, 162. 
-^fMorant, T., History of Essex, 34 n. 
Moreau, J. G., on Transcriptions and 

Inventories, 115 n. 
Morley, Richard, ' Methodizer ' of Ex- 
chequer Records, 236 n. 
-fcMuller, S., Feith, A., and Fruin R., 
Manuel pour le Classement des Archives: 
see Parts I and II passim. 
Muniments, Private : see Private Muni- 
Munitions, Ministry of, History of its own 

work compiled by, 20, 21. 
"^-Murray, John, Modern Paper, 158. 
Museums, as repositories of Archives, 41. 
— , Cases for, 82, 83. 
— , Policy of, in Collection of Documents, 

4 2 - . 

— , Use of in Repositories, 82, 83. 
Musters, 37 n. 
Mutilation : see under Archives. 

Napoleon, Archives carried off by, 104. 
Newspaper, Archives of a, 8. 

Newspaper, Contrasted with Archives, 4. 

— , as part of Archives, 7. 

Nonsuch Palace (co. Surrey), Records 

removed to, during Great Fire, 236 n. 
Norman Pipe Roll, 237. 
Norway, Archive Work in, vii n. 
Notarial Archives in France, Italy and 

Spain, vi. 
Notes written on documents by Archivist, 

&c. : see under Archivist. 
Numbering, Rules for, 71 ; see also under 



Oak, Danger from use of, in Archives, 220. 

Office Files : see under Files. 

Officers' Services, 6. 

Officials, English : see App. V (i). 

— : see also under Auditor; Chamberlains ; 

Chancellor ; Cheirographer ; Clerk of 

the Pells ; King's Remembrancer. 
— , their attitude to State Papers, 186 n. 
1 Ordre primitif, y Theory of arrangement of 

Archives by : see under Arrangement. 
Out-size Documents, Special Packing for, 

52, 55, 56. 

Packing of Documents, Preliminary, 93. 
— , Considerations of space and shape, 

governing, 115. 
— , Final, 115. 

— : see also under Documents ; Make-up ; 

Packing Numbers, 93. 

— , distinguished from Accession Numbers, 

Paint, Treatment of, in Repair, 71. 

— : see under Materials. 
Palaeography, Works on, 204. 
Palgrave, Sir Francis, on Archives, 25. 
— , — , on Port Books, 124 n. 
-^-Palgrave, Sir Francis, Antient Inventories, 

25, 201 n, 232. 
-^-Panisset, T. : see Groom, P. 
Paper Fasteners, Danger of, 163. 
Paper, Repair of, 68, 70-73. 

— : see under Materials. 
Paradichlorbenzene, Use of Vapour of, 221. 
Parchment, Danger to, from bacteria, 221, 

— , Repair of, 68-73. 

Paris, Archives Nationales at, vi, 18 n, 62. 
Parish Registers, 30, 38. 
Parliament, English, Speeches in, con- 

trated with Archives, 4. 
Parliament, Journals of (Lords), 90 n. 
— , Records of, 193. 
Parliament : see also under Commons, 

House of ; Lords, House of. 



Paste, Varieties of, 70. 

Patent Books (Exch. of Receipt), 236 n. 

Patent Rolls, 29, 98. 

Pells, Clerk of : see under Receipt, Ex- 
chequer of. 

'Pells' Records : see under Receipt, Ex- 
chequer of. 

Pencil : see under Materials. 

' Penicillium ' (fungus), Danger to docu- 
ments from, 222. 

-^-Pepys, Samuel, Diary compared with 
Archives, 150. 

-^-Perceval, Viscount, Diary, 186 n. 

Pershore Abbey, Cartulary of, 37, 120 n. 

Personal Letters, as Archives, 167-169. 

— : see also under Documents, Confiden- 
tial ; Correspondence. 

■ — , Memoirs : see Memoirs. 

Phillips, Sir Thomas, Public Records in 

sale of MSS. of, 238 n. 
Photographic Devices, Use of, 82. 
Photography, Facilities for, 63. 
— , Light for, 48 n. 
■ — , Use of, 81, 132. 
— , see also under Documents. 
Pipe Rolls, 24, 31, 142 n. 
Plate glass : see under Repositories, 

Shelving in. 
Plea Rolls, Listing of, 129. 

— (Chester), 33 «. 

— (Common Pleas), 33 n. 

— (Exch.), 29, 107. 

— (Jewish), 28. 

— (King's Bench), 33, 63. 

Poison, Use of, for protection of Docu- 
ments, 219. 

Poland, Re-integration of Fonds d 'Archives 
in, vi. 

Pollard, Professor A. F., on Binding of old 
Registers, 90 n. 

-fa Poole, R. L., The Exchequer in the 
Twelfth Century, 226 n. 

Port Books, 5 n, 144. 

Portfolios, Use of, in make-up of Docu- 
ments, 55, 60. 

— , Specifications for, 21 1-2 13. 

Preservation of Documents in Modern 
Office, Considerations for, 183, 184. 

— : see also under Destruction ; Registry. 
Presses, Special, for Large Documents, 67. 
■ — , — , Specification for, 207. 

■ — : see also Racking 

Printing of Archives, Methods of, 130-132. 
— , Reference Index to work done, 132. 
— , Rules for, 131. 

— : see also under Calendars ; Documents. 
Private Companies, Archives of, in Eng- 
land, 197. 

Private Muniments, 196, 197. 

■ — , Belgian Custom regarding, 43. 

Archives : see under 

Private Muniments, Examples of, in Public 

Record Office, 34-37, 84, 85. 
— , Examples of migration of, 35-37. 
— : see also under Archives ; Long and 

Short Title. 
Privy Council Registers, 90 n. 
Privy Seal, Writs of, 11. 
Probate Records, 193. 

' Proceedings ' as Archives, 23, 184, 185. 
Proceedings, Chancery, 27. 
Procuration Signatures, 165 n. 
Production of Documents to Students, 

Problems of, 51-65. 
— , Effect of on Archive Quality, 154, 155. 
— , Index and Register of, 65, 134. 
•^•Prou, M., Manuel de Paleographie, 198. 
Provenance as method of Classification, 

criticized, 97. 
Public and Private 

Public Record Office, London : 
I ; and illustrations passim. 

-, Catalogue of Indexes, &c, in, x. 
-, Connexion of, with Local Records, x. 
-, Guide to : see Giuseppi, M.S. 
-, Museum at, 24 n. 
-, Registers in use at, 133 n. 
-, Relation of, to Local Archives, x. 
-, Repairing Department of, v. 
-, Site of, 30. 

-, Summary of Records in, x. 
-, System of Ventilation at, 224. 
Public Records, Sale of, 238. 
Publication of Archives, Register of, 134. 
Purchase of Documents for Archives : see 

under Belgium. 
■^-Putnam, Miss B. H., on Ancient Indict- 
ments, 24 n. 


see App. 

Queen Anne's Bounty, 103. 

Racking, Varieties of, 47 n, 48-51, 67. 

— , — , Specification for, 205-207. 

— , Special, for Large Documents, Specifi- 
cation for, 207. 

— , — , for Rolls, Specification for, 207, 

Ramsey, Abbey, Cartulary of, 36. 

Rats, Danger to Documents from, 219 n. 

"^-Raymond, Thomas, Autobiography, 158 n. 

Re-agents, Use of, 81. 

Receipt, Exchequer of, Medieval history 
of, 98 n, App. V (i). 

— , — , ■ — , used as example of Arrangement, 
169, App. V (ii). 

— , — , Account Books of, 230. 

— , — , Archives of, from Brick Tower at 
Westminster, 233. 



Receipt, Exchequer of, Archives of, from 
Chapter House at Westminster, 234. 

-, — , Comparison of, with state in 
1 8th cent., 235, 236. 

-, — , Controller General takes over, 
232, 233. 

— , — , discovered in vaults at Somerset 
House, 232, 233, 238 n. 
-, — , Final state of, 234. 
-, — , First arrangement, 232, 233. 
-, — , ' Methodized ' (1727), 236. 
-, — , in 19th century, 231. 
-, — , Removal to Public Record 
Office, 233. 

— , — , removed to Surrey during Great 
Fire, 236. 

-, — , removed to Whitehall, 233. 
-, — -, i7th-cent. List of, 232, 237. 
-, — , State of Preservation of, in 
1800, 236. 

-, Assignment Books of, 230. 
-, Auditor of the Receipt at, 230, 231, 

— , — , quarrels with Clerk of the Pells, 
236, 238. 

— , 'Auditors and Pells ' Records at, 
— , Cash Books of, 230. 
— , Chamberlains' Duties at, 228, 230, 
— , Clerk of the Pells at, 2, 230, 231, 

235-239. . 
— , Earliest Archives of, 226. 
— , Functions of, 226. 
— , Issue, Records of, Illustration of 
Development of, 239, 240. 

-, Issue Roll of, 227-233, 239, 240. 

-, Issue Roll of Annuities of, 240. 

-, Jewish Receipt Rolls of, 228, 231. 

-, Jornalia Rolls of, 229. 

-, Liberate Rolls of, 227. 

-, Origin of, 226. 

-, Patent Books of, 238. 

-, ' Pells ' Records at, 229, 230. 

-, Post-Medieval Records of, 231. 

-, Receipt Books of, 230. 

-, Receipt Rolls of, 12, 28, 84, 226-230, 
232-234, 237, 239, 240. 

-, 'Scriptor Talliarum' at, 231. 

-, Tallie Innovate Roll of, 229, 231. 

-, Tallies used at, 226, 229, 231 ; see 
also under Tallies, Exchequer. 

-, — , Destruction of, 229 n. 

-, — , Use of, for assignments, 229. 

-, Taxation Receipt Rolls of, 228, 


Tellers, Records of, 229. 
— , Bills of, 238. 
— , — , in Phillips' sale, 238 n. 
Treasurer's Duties at, 228. 

Receipt, Exchequer of, Triplicate arrange- 
ment at, 142 n, 228, App. V (ii). 

— , — , Works on : see Agarde, Arthur ; 
Black, W. H. ; Devon, F. ; Fanshawe, 
Sir Thomas ; Jenkinson, H. ; Skinner, 
Sir Vincent ; Steel, A. B. 

Receipt Books, 230. 

Receipt Rolls, 12, 28, 84, App. V passim. 

— , Special Jewish and Taxation, 228, 231. 

Receptacles : see under Documents. 

Reception : see under Archives ; Reposit- 

■^Record Commission, (1800-183 7) Reports 
of, 203 n, 233. 

Record, Main, Theory of arrangement by, 
105-107, 109, App. V (ii). 

— , — , Register in Modern Office a species 
of, 173. 

Record Offices : see under Repositories, 
British and Foreign. 

Records, Definition of the word, 2. 

— , Legal position of, in England, 10. 

— , Local, in England : see under Local 

— , Private in England : see Private Muni- 

— , Public, Early consultation of, in Eng- 
land, 32 

— , War : see War Archives. 

— : see also under Archives. 
-^-Redlich, G., on Austrian Archives, 103 n. 
Reference, Means of, to Archives, 122, 133. 
— , — , Index and Register of, 133. 

— , — : see also under Arrangement. 
References, Constituent parts of, 116, 

— , Methods of putting on to Documents, 


— : see also under Documents ; Key Lists. 
Register, Accession : see Accession Reg- 

— , in Modern Office, Archive qualities of, 

187, 188. 
— , — , Aim of, 153. 

— , — , Relationship of, to work of Archi- 
vist, 190. 
— , — , Uses of, 178-184. 
— , Transit : see Transit. 
Registers, Archivist's, 133, 135 ; see also 

under Accession ; Make-up ; Missing ; 

Production; Reference; Repairs; Transfer. 
' Registry ' in Modern Offices, Archives of, 

170-190 passim. 
— , Archivist's relations with, 189. 
— , Authentication of Documents to be 

controlled by, 172. 
— , Archive-making to be controlled by, 170. 
— , Copying of Documents to be controlled 

by, 172. 
— , Dating of Documents done in, 172, 173. 



'Registry' in Modern Offices, Destruction 

of documents controlled by, 172. 
— , Distribution of Documents, 175, 176. 
— , Documents not dealt with by, 184, 185. 
— , Functions of, 171. 

— , Indexes for, Varying character of, 187. 
— , Materials of Archives controlled by, 171. 
— , Officials of, Requirements for, 187. 
— , Organization of, 187-189. 
— , Preservation of documents controlled 

by, 172. 
— , Staffing of, 187-189. 
— , Subject-matter of documents described 

by, 174. 
— , Subsidiary Documents of, 176, 177. 
Remembrancer, King's : see Fanshawe, 

Repairing Work, for Amateurs, 67. 
— , on Bindings, 76, 77 ; see also App. III. 
— , Implements for, 74 ; see also App. III. 
— , Light for, 48 n. 
— , Materials for, 68-70. 
— , Methods of, 70-75. 
— , Principles and Rules for, 68. 
— , on Seals, 79, 80. 
— , Register of, 134. 
Repositories for Archives, Adaptation of 

old building for, 46. 

— : Air, Necessity of, 47. 

— : Bombs, Protection from, 45, 46. 

— , British : see Carlton Ride ; Public 
Record Office ; Somerset House ; State 
Paper Office ; Wales ; Westminster ; 

— , Calendars, Use of, in, 126. 

— , Cleaning of, 47. 

— , Construction of, General qualities in, 45. 

— , Convenience for working in, 47. 

— , Evacuation of, to be made easy, 46. 

— , Fire Brigade, Communications with, 46. 

— , Foreign : see under Archives. 

— , General guide to contents necessary, 

— , General Plan of, 48. 
— , Heating of, 46. 
— , Indexes used in, 126. 
— , Keys of, Custody of, 46. 
— , Lifts in, 47. 
— , Lighting of, 47, 48. 
— , Lighting, over-head and side, in, 48. 
— , Lists of Archives in, 121. 
— , Mezzanine Floors in, 50. 
— , Packing of, 49, 50. 
— , Racking in, Plan for, 48-50 ; see also 

App. III. 
— , Registers of Work in, 133-135. 
— , Safe Rooms in, 82. 
— , Shelving in, Materials for (metal, plate 

glass, slate, wood), 51 : see also App. 

Ill (a). 

Repositories for Archives, Space for 
Numbering, Reception, Sortation and 
Stamping in, 47. 

— , ' Stack ' system in, 49. 

— : Staff, Accommodation for, 46 n. 
— , Staircases in, 50. 

— , Students, Provision of Accommod- 
ation and Books for, 48. 

— , Summary Inventory to be made for, 
121, 122. 

— : see also under Archives ; Libraries ; 
Lists ; Museums. 

Requisitioning of Documents, 190 n. 

' Restitution ' of Archives after War, 103 n. 

Ribbons, Typewriting : see under Materials. 

-^■Richardson, H. G., on Forgeries, 13, 14. 

Rodney Papers, 43. 

Rohan, Hotel de, (Paris), vi. 

Rolls, as forms of Archives : see App. V (i), 

Rolls, Master of the, 36. 
— , — , given Superintendence of Manorial 

Records, x. 
— , — , Origin of office of, 29. 
— , — : see also Jessel, Sir George. 
Rolls, Special Packing for, 52-54, 93. 
Rolls Buildings (London), 30. 
-j^-Royal Commission on Public Records 

(19 10), Reports : passim. 
"jj^-Royal Historical Society, Publications 

°f> 37 n > 85 n, 226 n. 
Room Lists : see Lists. 
Russia, Archive re-organisation in, vi. 
— , Technical Research in, vii. 
■^Ryley, W., Pleadings in Parliament, 229 n. 

Safe Rooms in Repositories, 82. 

Sale of Archives, destructive of Archive 

quality, 38. 
■^Salzmann, L. F., on Feet of Fines, 

24 n. 
Sand, Used for drying ink, Evidence from, 

90 n. 
Say, Beatrix de, 34. 
-jfc-Sayers, W. C. B. (ed.) Library Economy, 

Scaccario, Dialogus de : see Dialogus. 
* Scaccarium Iudeorum,' 28, 142 n. 
Scandinavia, Paper-manufacture in, 158 n. 
Schedules : see under Documents. 
Schleswig-Holstein, Archives of, vi. 
Scotland, Documents taken from, returned, 

— , Archives of, 192. 
1 Scriptor Talliarum ' : see under Receipt, 

Exchequer of. 
Seals, Casts from, 80. 
— , Materials of, 79. 
— , Methods of affixing, 79. 



Seals, Moulding and Casting of, 57, 80. 

— , Nomenclature for, 79. 

— , Packing of, 56-58, 79, 213. 

— , Photography of, 80. 

— , Repair of, 79, 80. 

— , ' Skippets ' for, 57 n, 82. 

— , Varieties of, 56, 79, 126 n. 

-^Selden Society, Publications of, 200 n. 

Selection of Archives, Administrator to 
control, 151, 152. 

— , General practice relating to, 138. 

— , for destruction, Methods of, 140 n. 

— , Modern Methods of, 147. 

— : see also under British Museum ; 

Series of Archives, Ancient and Modern, 
111-113, 116. 

— , 'Made' and 'Original,' 116. 

Serjeant's Inn Papers, 36. 

Sewing of Documents, Rules Concerning, 
68, 88. 

— , Value of, as evidence, 68. 

Shakespeare, Documents relating to, 139, 

— , — , Alleged Forgeries of, 10. 

Shakespearean interest proposed as criter- 
ion of Archive Arrangement, 225. 

Shelf Lists : see Lists. 

Shellac, Use of, as Fixative, 72 n. 

— , — , in Repair of Seals, 80. 

Shelving, Materials for, 205 addendum. 

— , Duckboard pattern, 205 addendum. 

— , — , Specification for, 207. 

* Short Title ' to Land, its effect on Private 
Archives, 39. 

Sigillography, Works on, 205. 

Silk Gauze, Use of, in Repair, 70. 

Size, Method of making, 69. 

— , Use of, in Repair, 70, 73. 

— , — , as fixative, 163. 

Skinner, Sir Vincent, Auditor of the 
Receipt, 232. 

— , — , Note on the Receipt by, 232 n. 

Slate Shelving : see under Repositories. 

Slip-making : see under Arrangement. 

Smoking, Rule against, 62. 

•ft Smyth, Sir Thomas, De Republica Anglie, 
2 n. 

Society of Arts : see under Bookbinding. 

Societies, Local : see Local Societies. 

Somerset House (London), Vaults of, as 
Repository, 136, 139, 232, 233, 238. 

— , — , Description of, 238. 

Sorting, Difficulty of, 92 n. 

— : see also under Arrangement ; Reposit- 

Soubise, Hotel (Paris), vi. 

Spain, Notarial Archives in, vi. 

1 Special Collections ' among Public 
Records in England, 194. 

Specifications : see under Book-binding ; 

Boxes ; Filing ; Folders ; Portfolios ; 

Presses ; Racking ; Shelving ; Trays. 
Specimens of old Work on Documents, 

Preservation of, 68 n, 77, 88, 217. 
Splitting of Paper in Repair, 74 n. 
Spring-back Binding, 76, 77. 
Stack System : see under Repositories. 
Staff, Accommodation for : see under 

Stafford, Earls of, 34. 
-^-Stamp, A. E., Revels Accounts, 10 n. 
Stamping, Inks for : see Inks, Stamping. 
— , Rules for, 88, 89, 92, 162. 

— : see also under Documents ; Materials. 
Stamps, Methods of using and varieties of, 

55, 162. 
— , Metal, 55, 89, 162. 
— , Rubber, Uselessness of, 162. 
Standardization of Terms : see under 

Stapleton, Bishop, 98. 
— , — , Inventory by, 25/2. 
State Paper Office, History of, 30 n. 
— , Methods of Binding at, 61 n. 
State Papers, viii, 217. 

— {Henry VIII), 5, 132. 

— (Domestic), 85. 

— {Foreign), 85. 

— {Colonial), 88. 

Stationers, Early Blank Books supplied by, 

61 n. 
Stationers' Company, Archives of, 35. 
Statutes, Published, 201 n. 
"^-Stein, H. : see Langlois et Stein. 
-jlf-Steel, A. B., Medieval Exchequer, 1, 
Stitching : see Sewing. 
Stonor Papers, 85 n. 
Strays : see under Archives. 
Stretching, as Method in Repair, 71 n, 74 n. 
Students, Admission of, to Archives, 48 : 

see also under Production. 
— , References to Archives printed or used 

by, 132. 
Subject order : see under Arrangement. 
Summary Inventory : 121, 122, 128, 133, 

Supreme Court, Records of, 33, 34. 

— {Admiralty, Probate and Divorce), 103. 
— , — {Chancery), 87. 

— {King's Bench), 103, 106 n. 
"^-Surrey Record Society, Guide, 192. 
— , Manorial Records, 129. 

Tackets, Gut or Vellum, used in binding, 

Tallie Innovate Rolls, 229, 231, 237 n. 
Tallies, Exchequer, 9, 12, 13, 226, 228-230, 
— : Private, 9. 



Tallies, see also under Destruction ; Receipt, 
Exchequer of. 

"^-Tannenbaum, S. A., Shakspere Forgeries, 
10 n. 

Taxation, Receipt Rolls of, 228, 231. 

Teak, Use of, for Shelving, 207, 208, 220. 

Telegrams, Value of copies of, as Archives, 
166, 167. 

Telephone messages, Representation of, in 
Archives, 20, 166. 

Tellers : see under Receipt, Exchequer of. 

Tellers' Bills, 238 n. 

Tellers' Rolls, 229. 

Terminology : see under Archives. 

Theft : see under Archives. 

^Thomas, F. S., Guide to the Public 
Records, 201 n. 

-^-Thompson, A. Hamilton, Parish History 
and Records, 30. 

Thymol, Use of Vapour of, 224. 

Title to land : see Long Title ; Short 

Topography, Works on, 205. 

-^Tout, Professor T. F., Chapters in 
Mediaeval Administrative History, 1 n, 
29 n, 227 n. 

Tracing Paper, Use of, in Repairing, 69 n. 

Transcribing, Rules for, 125, 130. 

— , — , compared with principles for Ed- 
iting, 126. 

Transcripts, their place as Archives, 120 n, 
121 n. 

Transfer of Archives, Register of, 133, 134. 

— , — , Violent, 104. 

Transit Register, Use of, in Modern Offices, 

175, 176. 

Transmission : see under Archives. 

Trays, Use, for packing Documents, 58. 

— , Specification for, 209, 210. 

Treasurer, Earliest Archives of his depart- 
ment, 24. 

— : see under Receipt, Exchequer of. 

Treasury Papers, 6, 26, 37, 96, 113. 

Treasury of Receipt as Archive Repository, 

25, 97- 
Treasury Solicitor's Papers, 113. 
Triplicate Series of Archives : see under 

Receipt, Exchequer of. 
Typewriter, Effect of use of, on Archives, 

20, 157, 162, 163. 
Typewriting ribbons : see under Materials. 


Ultra-violet Rays, Use of, 81. 

United States, Archives of, vii, 21, 165 n. 

Vaporization, Use of, for protection of 

Documents, 221, 224. 
Vellum, Danger to, from bacteria, 221, 222. 
— , as Binding Material, 76, 77. 
— , Repair of, 69-73. 
Ventilation, of Museum Cases, 82, 83. 
— : see also under Air ; Public Record 

Vienna, Imperial Archives at, 103 n. 
— , Treaty of, vi. 


*Wailly, N. de, Circular of (1841), 8 n y 

97 n. 
Wales, Archives of, 192. 
Walpole, Sir Robert, 186 n. 
War Archives, Accumulation of, 21, 138. 
War, ' Restitution ' of Archives after, 103 w. 
War Office, Records of, 3, 6, 20, 102, 150. 
Wardour, Chidiock, Clerk of the Pells, 236, 

Wardrobe Accounts, 104. 
Warrants, Chancery, 11 n, 105. 
— , Sign Manual, 34 n. 
Washington, United States Archives at, vii, 

21, 165 n. 
Watt Papers, 41. 

Wax, Use of in Repair, 69, 79, 80. 
Westminster, Brick Tower at, Record 

Repository in, 233. 
— , Chapter House at, Record Repository 

in, 98, 234, 235, 237. 
Weston, Sir John, 85. 
Whip-cord : see under Documents. 
Whitehall, Controller General's Office in, 

Repository at, 233. 
Wikes Priory, Alleged forgeries by, 11 n. 
Winchester College, Archives of, 63 n. 
Wood : see under Documents, Materials 

for; Repositories, Shelving in. 
Woodstock, Thomas of, 34. 
Woven Material : see under Documents, 

Materials for. 
Wiirtemberg, District Wardens of Archives 

in, vii. 

Xestobium ' Beetle, Danger to Documents 
from, 220, 221. 

'Zapon,' Use of, in Repair, 69 n.